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Alternate Realities: Mars Homes

Edition #3

Hey there! New registrations are now closed for this competition.


Alternate Realities – the world’s most experimentative architecture competition is back with its 3rd edition. This year’s theme is – MARS HOMES.

“Mars is there, waiting to be reached.”

– Buzz Aldrin

This competition exists in an alternate reality.
The year is 2091.

Life on Mars is no longer science fiction but an inevitable reality. Years of indiscriminate exploitation of Earth’s natural resources has pushed climate change to a point where it can no longer be reversed. Mass extinctions have become common. The only way to save the human species is to establish a settlement on Mars. All the space agencies of the world – NASA, ESA, SpaceX, ISRO, etc. – have joined hands to establish the first permanent human settlement on Mars.

However, life on Mars would have its own set of challenges. Its atmosphere is composed primarily of carbon dioxide (about 96%). Ultraviolet and other forms of intense radiation bathe the surface because Mars has a thin atmosphere and no active magnetic field to protect it. The temperature on Mars can be as high as 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) or as low as about -225 degrees Fahrenheit (-153 degrees Celsius). The atmospheric pressure at the surface of Mars is only about 0.6 percent of Earth’s.

You have been called in to design homes for the first human residents on The Red Planet. You are the architect of Mars!

Falcon Heavy, SpaceX
Falcon Heavy, SpaceX

The Challenge

AI Space Factory | Marsha - 3D Printed Martian Home
© AI Space Factory | Marsha - 3D Printed Martian Home

The Martian Home:
Design a structure to inhabit 4-6 humans on Mars. This shall form the basis of the first human colony on The Red Planet and shall be replicated to form a larger settlement. (You only need to design one house.)

Designers need to think about the long-term mental and physical challenges that come with living on an alien planet. The Martian Home needs to provide a comfortable space to live in while also protecting its inhabitants from the harsh conditions on the planet – radiation, extreme temperatures, atmospheric challenges, etc. You also need to consider how the inhabitants would transition from being indoors to outdoors and vice-versa.

Since the average distance between Earth and Mars is 140 million miles (225 million km), transporting construction materials from the earth will not be practical. The Martian Homes will have to be built from materials available on Mars.

Construction Techniques:
The harsh environment of Mars will render traditional construction techniques useless. Designers will have to come up with new and innovative ways to construct Martian Homes efficiently.

Optional Services:
Life on Mars would also require oxygen generators, food production units, power generation, etc. These utility services can be shared by multiple houses through central units. You DO NOT need to design these for this competition. However, you are free to experiment with innovative solutions which can help make each house more self-sufficient. (Similar to the self-sufficient homes on Earth.)


A total of 5 sheets of size 30 cm x 30 cm are to be submitted as a combined PDF document, which shall not exceed 5 MB.

  • Sheets 1: Full-Page Visualization
    The first sheet should have a full-page captivating 3D visualization of your Martian Home as seen from the outside.

  • Sheets 2, 3 & 4: Design Explanation
    The next 3 sheets shall be used to explain your design. These sheets must include:
      1. Floor Plans of each level
      2. One Elevation (at least)
      3. One Section (or sectional 3D view)

Optional: You are free to add more drawings, 3-D views, sketches, plans, elevations, or any other means of graphical representation to help explain your design. You may include text labels, architectural markings & symbols, and short descriptive text but avoid long blocks of paragraphs.

  • Sheet 5: Text Summary
    Heading: Give a name to your Martian Home Concept. This will be the heading on this page.
    Summary: Write a summary of your design in under 250 words. There should be no images on this sheet; only text.
    Your Registration ID should be written in the top right corner of this sheet. Any other information which discloses your identity shall lead to disqualification. All text must be in English. 


Sheet 1

30cm x 30cm

Sheet 2

30cm x 30cm

Sheet 3

30 cm x 30 cm

Sheet 4

30 cm x 30 cm

Sheet 5

30 cm x 30 cm

How to Submit

Participants are required to submit one PDF file for the Alternate Realities #3 – Mars Homes competition. Email your submissions to [email protected]

  • File Naming: ‘AR3-Registration ID.pdf’ (ex. if your Registration ID is 12345, the file name should be AR3-12345.pdf). You will receive your Registration ID after completing the registration.
  • Size Limit: 5 MB

Submissions should be emailed as a file attachment and not as a link.



Exposure and recognition is the key to success for any designer. The Alternate Realities #3: Mars Homes design competition provides architecture professionals and students, the opportunity to showcase their work on a global stage. The best entries shall be featured on, and on our social media platforms. The results will also be published by various websites and online magazines associated with us.


Custom Designed Trophies will be awarded & shipped to the Top 3 Winners.


Sharable and verifiable certificates of achievement will be awarded to the Winners, Honorable Mentions & Top 30.

Exclusive Interview

The Top 3 Winners will get an exclusive interview in both – written and video formats. Photos, interviews, and more information about the winners will be published on our website.


The winning entries shall be published on Charette’s website & social media platforms and other international architecture websites partnered with us.


Eligibility & Rules

Alternate Realities is open to all creative people – architects, engineers, designers, and all problem solvers! Participation is encouraged from professionals and students alike. Design proposals can be developed individually or in teams of maximum 4 participants from similar or interdisciplinary backgrounds.

  • Participants who plagiarize or submit work that is not entirely their own will be disqualified at any point during or after the competition.
  • Submissions shouldn’t contain any information which discloses your identity, except the Registration ID.
  • All text must be in English.
© Foster + Partners | Concept for Mars Habitat

Key Dates

Closing date for registration

15 Jan 2023

Closing date for project submission

31 Jan 2023

Announcement of the winners

March 2023

All deadlines are 11:59 PM UTC (Coordinated Universal Time).


$45 Early Entry

16 Oct – 15 Nov 2022

$55 Standard Entry

16 Nov – 15 Dec 2022

$65 Last-min Entry

16 Dec – 15 Jan 2023

After completing the checkout, you will automatically receive a confirmation e-mail. In the e-mail, you will also find your Registration ID. Please note, your Registration ID is your order number. If you can’t find the e-mail in your inbox, please check your spam folder. Even after the registration, you are welcome to add, remove, or swap team members as long as their total number does not exceed four. For any queries, feel free to contact us at [email protected].

Payments are handled by PayPal and Stripe’s Secure Payment Gateways. You can pay through a Credit Card / Debit Card or your PayPal balance. We accept all major currencies.

All deadlines are 11:59 PM UTC (Coordinated Universal Time).
All prices are in US Dollars unless stated otherwise.


If you’re trying to decide between two or more design decisions, think of what a house on Mars will ACTUALLY be like. What’s the most likely scenario?

No, you only need to design a single Martian Home. However, if you wish, you can show a cluster of multiple Martian Homes.

No, designs can be site-less if desired.

Yes, you can. In that case, the first sheet will be a full-page sectional 3D of the underground house.

Images or drawings are NOT allowed on this sheet; only text.

The competition is open to all designers, engineers, and problem solvers – irrespective of their profession, location or experience.

Your Registration ID is the order number that appears after completing the registration process. It can also be found in the confirmation e-mail that you’ll receive upon successful registration. The confirmation is only sent to the email provided during the checkout.

All entries are reviewed anonymously by the competition jury. Upon registration each team receives a unique Registration ID, this ID is the only mean by which boards are identified.

No, it isn’t. Participants not selected for the finals are not going to be notified about the details of the jury’s assessment.

Teams may be comprised of one to four members from similar or interdisciplinary backgrounds.

Don't see the answer to your question?

E-mail us at [email protected].

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