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Polish students have designed a research center for Elon Musk

Dobrawa Bies
12 of November '20

Architecture students of the Gdansk University of Technology - Julita Banaszak, Jakub Kruk, Jerzy Sroka, in response to a competition task set by the Young Architects Competitions platform, created a futuristic research center located in a desolate desert area in Nevada.

The competition, titled "Hyperloop Desert Campus," sought possible directions for a state-of-the-art research center for Hyperloop technology. The facility is located in the Mojave Desert in the state of Nevada, near Las Vegas. This desolate and hostile environment presents an opportunity to design an iconic building that could chart a course for Hyperloop-related architecture.

location in the desert landscape of Nevada


Elon Musk's research center

Hyperloop is a high-tech and still prototype means of transportation funded by Elon Musk. Hyperloop's main goal is to communicate as fast as air transportation, however at the price of standard road transportation. In order to expand its operations and scope of research and test center, the center needs more space, so the architects were asked to create a new, hyper-modern facility.

Budynek Hyperloop

The facility gives the impression of an alien monolith

© Julita Banaszak, Jakub Kruk, Jerzy Sroka

monolith in the heart of the desert

The students of the Gdansk University of Technology tried to integrate the building as precisely as possible into the plot, appropriately referring to the surrounding mountain range. The result was an object that gives the impression of an alien monolith appearing in the desert.

The solid is divided into two parts, and its shell is a modular wall

© Julita Banaszak, Jakub Kruk, Jerzy Sroka

Inspired by the erosion of the rocks of this desert terrain, the authors divided the solid into two parts. In the break between the structures is a dry garden with native plant species, improving water management and serving as an entrance area. The different parts of the center are connected to each other by a connector. The entire building has been designed so that tours visiting the center can move freely through it without impeding the work of the numerous laboratories.

The main entrance leads through a dry garden, and the buildings are connected by a connector

© Julita Banaszak, Jakub Kruk, Jerzy Sroka

The shell of the building is a modular curtain wall, consisting of photovoltaic panels and self-dimming windows. This treatment facilitates operation in adverse climatic conditions. The next floors are apartments, and on the last floor, in addition to an observation deck, there is also a special coating that allows the recovery of water from the environment, which is later used in the facility.


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