Michael Kalil International Space Station Habitation Module, NASA, project, 1983-1986

  • MoMA, Floor 4, 417 The David Geffen Galleries

In the early 1980s NASA began exploratory designs for the interior of the International Space Station Habitation Module: a tiny, cramped area—thirteen feet in diameter—where six astronauts would live for several months in a weightless environment, orbiting three hundred nautical miles above the Earth. In addition to these design challenges, in zero gravity there is no stable point of view—no floor or ceiling, top or bottom, or fixed floor plan. The NASA planners who deal with astronauts environment, clothing, and food—called Human Factors Research—engaged Kalil, a New York-based educator, interior designer, and artist, to examine the quintessentially human qualities of the project, such as the psychological impact of sensory deprivation and monotony. Kalil attempted to define a new spatial language for space habitation. His project is visionary, and, in the words of the client, it is "poetic, lyrical, and gets away from the nuts and bolts type of engineering at NASA."

Gallery label from Born out of Necessity, March 2, 2012–January 28, 2013.
Clear acrylic, paint, metal and felt
l. 57 x diam. 14 3/4" (144.8 x 37.5") height on stand 16" (40.6 cm)
Model maker
Marc M. Cohen
Gift of the Michael Kalil Endowment for Smart Design, Parsons School of Design, The New School University
Object number
© 2024 Marc M. Cohen / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Architecture and Design

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