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Nicholas de Monchaux

Nicholas de Monchaux is an architect, urban designer, and theorist. He is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of California, Berkeley. de Monchaux is the author of Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo (MIT Press, 2011), an architectural and urban history of the Apollo Spacesuit, winner of the Eugene Emme award from the American Astronautical Society and shortlisted for the Art Book Prize.

His architectural work been exhibited widely, including at the 2010 Biennial of the Americas, the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale, and San FranciscoÕs SFMOMA. de Monchaux received his B.A. with distinction in Architecture, from Yale, and his M.Arch. from Princeton. Prior to his independent practice, he worked in the offices of Michael Hopkins & Partners in London, and Diller, Scofidio + Renfro in New York. A Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, de Monchaux has received awards and fellowships from Parsons, the International Union of Architects, the Van Alen Institute, and the Macdowell Colony. His research in design theory and technology has been supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Hellman Family fund, the Santa Fe Institute, and the Smithsonian Institution.

Border Sessions 2014 - Thu, 13 Nov 2014

In this panel on the evolution of spacesuit design, Dutch designer Borre Akkersdijk will talk with Nicholas de Monchaux, about his book Spacesuits: Fashioning Apollo, and Richard Rhodes, who is the lead design of NASA’s upcoming Z2 spacesuit.

NASA's Development of the Next Space Suit
NASA’s next mission is to send astronauts to an asteroid in the coming decade and then to Mars by the 2030s. To prepare for this mission the advanced space suit group is developing the next generation suit that will support long term exploration in both micro-gravity and planetary environments. The first step in this development was the Z-1 suit. NASA is currently developing the Z-2 suit, the highest fidelity EVA suit developed in 30 years. This presentation summarizes the goals and requirements that are driving the design of the next generation space suit.

Fashioning the Apollo Spacesuit
In Spacesuit, Nicholas de Monchaux tells the story of the twenty-one-layer spacesuit in twenty-one chapters addressing twenty-one topics relevant to the suit, the body, and the technology of the twentieth century. He touches, among other things, on eighteenth-century androids, Christian Dior’s New Look, Atlas missiles, cybernetics and cyborgs, latex, JFK's carefully cultivated image, the CBS lunar broadcast soundstage, NASA’s Mission Control, and the applications of Apollo-style engineering to city planning. The twenty-one-layer spacesuit, de Monchaux argues, offers an object lesson. It tells us about redundancy and interdependence and about the distinctions between natural and man-made complexity; it teaches us to know the virtues of adaptation and to see the future as a set of possibilities rather than a scripted scenario.