The Shape of Space

In the 1970s, NASA brought together scientists, planners, architects, and designers to refine and visualize proposals for orbital space habitats. Their extraordinary renderings placed an emphasis on the unnatural scale and perspective geometries of these new forms. Reading these images alongside works of architectural history, science fiction, and philosophy can help us find a new language for talking about environmental conditions on and off our home planet.

What the orbital space habitats designed for NASA in 1975 can teach us about living in new geometries.




  • Despina Stratigakos
  • Belmont Freeman
  • Alan Thomas

Despina Stratigakos

Despina Stratigakos, an associate professor at the University of Buffalo, is a columnist for Places and author of Where Are the Women Architects? and other books on architectural history.

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Belmont Freeman

Belmont Freeman is a columnist for Places. He is principal of Belmont Freeman Architects, an award-winning design firm in New York City.

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Shannon Mattern

Shannon Mattern is a columnist for Places. She is a professor of media studies at The New School in New York City.

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Alan Thomas

Alan Thomas is a columnist for Places. He is Editorial Director for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Chicago Press and a photographer specializing in urban landscape.

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