Rises from an island that floats in the Tokyo Bay, this futuristic 4-storey Spaceport in Japan hopes to take travellers on suborbital day trips. Noiz Architects designed this ground-breaking Spaceport in association with designers Canaria, communications firm Dentsu, and non-profit Spaceport Japan. Unlike customary, conventional vertical rocket launchers, the Spaceport City is designed like an airport for suborbital spaceships that take off horizontally like planes. Moreover, from space fashion shows to international conferences, the majority of events, research, and business regarding space will be held within its premises. Discover more about this wonder spaceport at SURFACES REPORTER(SR):
Experience Zero Gravity
Made of steel and glass towers that stick out through solar panels on the massive circular roof, this ultra-modern spaceport was conceptualized to allow people to see the building’s huge roof and Earth’s curvature while experiencing zero gravity.
According to Urszula Kuczma, project manager at Noiz Architects, “The spaceport will do much more than offering adventurous tourists the trip of a lifetime. It's a day trip destination in itself, with lifestyle and education facilities designed to help earthbound visitors become "more familiar with space".
The design of Spaceport City is based on creating continuity while retaining the identity of each element. Every function is enclosed within a separate spherical volume, and a large roof covered with kinetic solar panels is “hovering” over these buildings, covering also two levels of large plazas - one at the level of departures and one at the level of arrivals. The wavy landscape of the roof allows creating patios, open-air gardens, and even farmlands on various scale, while providing covered public space for people and other means of personal mobility.
A dynamic design of piers emerges from the main volume of the building, celebrating the special journey waiting ahead. The organic complex packed within a city-scale circular disk forms a magnificent 5th façade, making the spaceport recognizable from far away from the space.
There are two external access points – drop-off and pick-up lanes close to the spaceport security area and another drop-off area directly connected to large parking access which is designated primarily for the visitors of the entertainment program. Families and teams of supporters for space passengers will be able to gather and view the departure and landing from the lounges in the upper floors of each pier.
A Multipurpose Spaceport
The spaceport has a space-themed education academy, research and business facilities, a hotel, a 4D IMAX movie theatre, an astronaut-food restaurant, a gym, an aquarium, a disco, shops, and an art museum.
Also, the ground floor of Spaceport City is dedicated to technical space, crate handling, back offices, and the basement for the train station and other transportation spaces. The entire building composes a small ecosystem with internal smart transportation – self-driving cars, autonomous train, and electric scooters.
Noiz Architects used public transport with a network of bridges that carry autonomous trains and electric cars to access spaceport easily. The whole concept was to stimulate economic prospects while encouraging people to discover the technology potentials and the astonishments of space.
As space travel is physically and mentally challenging, so health checkups in the medical clinic and training at space academy or the gym will be part of pre-flight preparations as per Kuczma.
The entire complex is divided based on security requirements, assuring the highest safety without creating too many visual obstructions e.g. some institutions are connected via skybridges only on designated floors.
Recently, commercial suborbital spaceflights are not available but many companies like Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are testing suborbital spacecraft for space tourism. Virgin Galactic has lately designed horizontal-launch spacecraft that has been tested to accommodate over 600 travellers for the yet unscheduled $250,000-per-seat, 90-minute spaceflight. It believes that the spacecraft will be launched as early as next year.
Virgin Galactic says that their spacecraft will fly for a minimum of 50 miles i.e. 80 kilometers above Earth, and allow passengers to leave their seats for a few minutes to experience zero-gravity.
Also, this Spaceport City is not the first urban spaceport project. The transformation work of Ellington Airport into a commercial spaceport in Houston is also underway.
Collaborator: Architectural Design: Noiz / Project Planning: Space Port Japan Association, Dentsu, Canaria, and Noiz
Photo Credit: All images ©2020 Canaria, Dentsu, Noiz, Space Port Japan Association.
Info Courtesy: Noiz Architects