Biospheric Design’s most famous design project is the Biosphere 2 Project, a magnificent laboratory for the study of global ecology. This 3.15 acre miniature airtight world is sealed on the bottom by a stainless steel liner and on the top by a steel and glass space frame structure. Inside the laboratory is a 850-square meters coral reef, a 450 square meters mangrove marsh, a 1,900 square meters Amazonian rainforest, a 1,300 square meters savannah grassland, a 1,400 square meters fog desert, a 2,500 square meters tropical agriculture system with farm, & a human habitat with living quarters, offices, & recreational spaces. Heating and cooling water circulated through the biosphere in independent piping systems, & electrical power was supplied to the Biosphere from a natural gas energy center, located outside Biosphere 2, through airtight penetrations.
Life Under Glass: Crucial Lessons in Planetary Stewardship from Two Years in Biosphere 2, Abigail Alling, Mark Nelson, Ph.D, and Sally Silverstone. The only account written by the team while enclosed inside Biosphere 2, telling the story of how they lived and worked there for two years. Available through Synergetic Press in a new second edition, here.
Pushing Our Limits, Mark Nelson, Ph.D. Pushing Our Limits offers a fresh examination of Biosphere 2, from one of the original biospherians, now twenty-five years after its first closure experiment. Available from Synergetic Press, here.
Biosphere 2 was nominated by the USA Discovery Channel in 2003 as the #3 greatest engineering achievement in the 20th Century. Biosphere 2 was also the winner of the 1992 Gold Nugget Award for Best Architectural Design, its energy center received a merit award from Pacific Coast Builders for Best Industrial Project, it was honored as one of Time Magazine’s Top Ten Scientific Projects in 1993, and Biosphere 2 was featured by Columbia University for its contributions to ongoing ecological science.
“Artificial biospheres to a biospheric scientist or an ecological engineer have all the relevance of a cyclotron to a physicist, a wind tunnel to an aerodynamicist, or a clinic to a physician.”
– John Allen, Inventor, Biosphere 2