The very affable Dr Barbara Imhof talks to Asian Property Review about designing for space. Dr Imhof is one of the first few female space architects in the world.
Q1: What inspired you to become a space architect?
I have always wanted to become an architect because I was interested in creating spaces for humans and also designing environments where humans can interact and form communities. At the same time, I was very fascinated with technology and with the future. It’s like finding out what does the future hold for us, how will we live. My thoughts go very far, farther and farther, eventually landing on the moon or Mars.
I believe it is one of the futures of mankind. We will not vanish but may possibly become what Elon Musk describes as multi-planetary species, i.e. a species that live on the moon, Mars and on earth.
I have been to Musk’s rocket factory once and it is like a factory production line – where you can see metal sheets pushed in at one end and then a rocket comes out of the other end such as the Falcon 9 rockets and Orion capsules. These are used to transport astronauts to space stations.
Musk’s plan is to have the capability to produce rockets to bring goods and humans into space. One day, I will definitely go to orbit [smiles]. I haven’t booked my seat yet as I am waiting for the invitation to lecture there. Since I am a faculty member of the International Space University with the original aim of creating a university in space, I hope I have a chance as part of the faculty to teach in space.
I have seen Mars through a telescope, sometimes you can even see it with the naked eye. It’s reddish while Venus which you can see in the mornings and evenings is the brightest one.
Q2: What is outer space to you?