November 2014




We are celebrating the 10th Anniversary of LIQUIFER Systems Group!

Dear Friends, Clients, Partners and Patrons,
Co-founded in Vienna in 2004 by Barbara Imhof, Susmita Mohanty and Norbert Frischauf - we have in the last 10 years been exploring bold and unorthodox undertakings that can open up the final frontier to human exploration and challenge the way we think about habitation on earth as well.  The core team today comprises of the two managing directors and designers Barbara Imhof and Waltraut Hoheneder, designer Susmita Mohanty, designer René Waclavicek, and systems engineer Stephen Ransom.  Other associates, like Norbert Frischauf, Lutz Richter, Kaspar Vogel, Valentin Eder, Robert Davenport and Chris Gilbert, join in according to the projects' requirements. 
LIQUIFER Systems Group (LSG) was established as ‘Systems Group’ to better describe our company for what it is - a group of highly specialized people from different backgrounds and areas of expertise. We take a multi-disciplinary approach and encourage collaboration between architects, designers, engineers, scientists, physiologists, and psychologists.
LSG’s repertoire includes “concept studies,”  “detailed design” and “prototypes."  Our clients range from the Technical Museum – Vienna to the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Union.  We have collaborated with and partnered with  international institutions and organizations including, Thales Alenia Space, Airbus, German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), German Aerospace Center (DLR), Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises (COMEX), Space Applications Services, Airport Vienna and Festo Pneumatic and Electric Automation.
Our scope stretches from the arts to experimental science and the building of technical objects.  Our overarching focus however in all the projects is on the forward thinking of how humanity may plan for the future.  We seek strategies that reach into space and also inhabit the earth, addressing topics such as habitation, nutrition, social and cultural wellbeing. 

Our portfolio offers an insight into the expansive perspective we exercise within our company.  One project from every year has been selected from our portfolio to serve as a window into the way we think and how we design at many scales; for now and for tomorrow.

Barbara Imhof & Waltraut Hoheneder & Susmita Mohanty
LIQUIFER Systems Group



EXOMARS Rover is the first flagship mission of the Aurora program, devoted to the study of the Universe and human / robotic exploration of the solar system,  established in 2001 by the European Space Agency (ESA).
In cooperation with ESA, LIQUIFER Systems Group developed the design prototype for the EXOMARS Rover. The proposal considered leading research and development in the domains of Range systems, Energy supply, Autonomy and Navigation. The result was an autonomous rover, propelled by solar energy that could use optical sensors and special software for navigation.  The rover used a lightweight compact drilling system to collect and evaluate soil samples and different scientific instruments to search for traces of past or present life.

Client: ESA – European Space Agency


Facility for Integrated Planetary Exploration Simulation

FIPES was a feasibility study conducted for the European Space Agency (ESA) on the viability of a simulation-facility to monitor the impact planetary exploration (potentially) has on human explorers and the related life sciences, including (operational) medicine and psychology, environmental research (including life support and associated technologies) and exobiology.
This year-long Phase A-Definition Study looked at the parameters defined by these distinctive fields within the Life Sciences and how these parameters can be confronted when planning for crewed missions to the Moon or to Mars.
The details of the Final Report positively support the feasibility of the proposed facility and summarizes site selection, safety and regulatory aspects of operations of FIPES, an architectural strategy and commercial evaluation of the project. 

Client:  ESA – European Space Agency
Andreas Vogler Architecture and Vision, DE,  Sue Fairburn at Fibre Design Inc., CA, George Hammersley at M+W Zander, UK


Is There Life on Mars?


‘… from evidence to hypothesis.  Forensic investigations on Mars …’ was the theme of our 2006 interactive outdoor exhibition at the Planetarium in Vienna. It was based on the probing investigations of a team of interdisciplinary scientists from Hungary and their analysis of the images “Dark Dune Spots.”  The rhythmic patterns observed in the images taken from the Martian South pole suggested similar geological and/or biological conditions to exist on Mars, as on Earth - which could be indicators of entremophile life under the ice surface of Mars.
The exhibition sought to blur the line between what is thought to be science and what is percieved as imagery, research and creation. NASA images are juxtaposed with artist renderings of outer space, analogies are made between an imagined Space as represented in film and other artifacts of popular culture and real discoveries. A large scale sound piece by artists Tatzer and Waclavicek composed of synthetic Martian sounds and alienated quotes from interviews featured in the exhibition produced a detached atmosphere within the larger urban context.

Client:  SCIENCE COMMUNICATIONS; exhibition “die wahr/falsch inc:", at Planetarium, Vienna, Austria
Collaborators:  Karin Harasser, Nicolaus Gansterer, Markus Tatzer, René Waclavicek


Rover for Advanced Mission Applications

RAMA, the Rover for Advanced Mission Applications, produced under contract with ESA and Thales Alenia Space, is designed as a pressurized vehicle that will serve as habitat, refuge and research laboratory/workshop for astronauts during surface exploration of extraterrestrial planetary bodies.  Fundamental issues such as Habitability, Human-machine Interface, Safety, Dust Mitigation, Inter-planetary Contamination and Radiation Protection are addressed in this project; meeting scientific and operational requirements.
Also included in the RAMA report are descriptions of the technologies and subsystems required to support this vehicle and its crew in space exploration.

Client:  Thales Alenia Space & ESA – European Space Agency
Collaborators:  Max Grüter


for the International Space Station

The concept of a ‘deployable getaway’ stems from the problem of fatigue and its impact on both the quality of life and work performance. Fatigue can lead to irritated moods, concentration problems and slower reflexes. It increases the risk of accidents and can lead to burnout syndrome. 
The ‘deployable getaway’ is a three-dimensional countermeasure to everyday stressors and fatigue. Design and development for a deployable crew quarter cabin at the International Space Station (ISS) has been conceived as well as for staff members in an office environment on Earth. The structures once deployed, create a private space for relaxation, reflection and power naps that can lead to better performance, health and safety of people exposed to constant demand for high work performance. The designs demonstrate the reciprocities between Earth and Space. They employ folding geometries as a design response to the limited space available in small offices and ISS modules.

Client:  Co-funded by FFG – the Austrian Research Promotion Agency, more specifically the  ALR – the Austrian Space Agency (in frame of ASAP 5, 2008–09) & LSG


for the Office


The Deployable Getaway for the Office is a mobile, ergonomic and transformable ‘cocoon-like’ structure that employees may utilize during the work day for the purpose of rejuvenation.  Scientific studies have repeatedly shown that a 20-30 minute nap in the office will improve the performance and productivity of employees by up to 30 percent. NASA has even mandated their pilots to nap since it was found that the well-rested have a 16 percent shorter reaction time than their sleepier colleagues. In the workplace (on Earth) however, the ‘power nap’ is harder to achieve due to busy office environments, the envy of colleagues and the lack of proper facilities.

For occupational health reasons it is critical that people that work long hours get enough rest which will keep them healthier and their work performance at a higher level. The Deployable Getaway for the Office is elegantly designed furniture that can be folded in different ways to permit different activities. It may function as a workstation or as a retreat from work and the office bustle.

Client:  Co-funded by Departure – the creative agency of the City of Vienna & LSG




The ISS – Sleep Kit is a sleeping bag developed for zero gravity and for use at the International Space Station (ISS).  LSG led the feasibility study and were the designers and engineers of the sleeping bag, working closely with astronaut, Gerhard Thiele; Safety and Testing consultants at EADS-Astrium and specialists in Space Medicine from McGill University.
The ISS – Sleep Kit is conceived as a countermeasure to fatigue; a problem that affects many astronauts leading to a decrement in alertness and performance and a cause of error.  Although non-pharmacologic methods may be used to alleviate symptoms of fatigue, difficulties may arise in sleep initiation and maintenance, such as poor sleep hygiene or circadian dyssynchrony. A prototype of the sleeping bag was fabricated using Nomex based textiles - today used at ISS. 

Client: Co-funded by ­­the Austrian Space and Aerospace Agency of the FFG (Austrian Research Promotion Agency) in the frame of ASAP 7, 2012–2011
Consultants:  Gerhard Thiele, astronaut at ESPI; Ulrich Kübler at EADS-Astrium


Architecture Defined by Natural Patterns

This arts-based research project sought to discover the ‘New Ornament’ through means of emerging design practices based on digital techniques. The instigation was rooted in the historical context of Adolf Loos’s seminal text ‘Ornament and Crime’ and challenges the notion with ‘biomimetics' [bionik].  Biomimetics [bionik] is the strategic search for models, systems, processes and elements that exist in nature in order to inform new design principles.
Models from nature are perceived as intrinsically efficient and intelligent and are emulated in design practices for innovation purposes.  The hypothesis underlying this strategy is that living nature has evolved in a process of continuing adaptation to a complex changing environment and that the exploitation of highly optimized solutions is likely to deliver innovations that provide more intelligence and better efficiency than our standard models. Our research investigated the static and dynamic patterns (e.g. growth principles, movement patterns, adaptation and differentiation as key for the emergence of patterns, etc.) found in nature and attempts to interconnect the scientific evidence with creative design in the field of architecture.

Client:  Funded by FWF – the Austrian Science Fund (in frame of PEEK 2009)
Research Institution:  University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria, Prof. Greg Lynn
Collaborators:  Centre for Biomimetics, Reading, UK; Institute of Microengineering and Nanoelectronics (IMEN), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia), Malaysia; Institute of Applied Physics, University of Technology, Vienna


Forward Acquisition of Soil and Terrain for Exploration Rover

The FASTER project develops a powerful land rover system for the exploration of Martian terrain.  The anagram, FASTER stands for “Forward Acquisition of Soil and Terrain data for Exploration Rover” and is a collaborative technology project between six partners from five different countries. 
The aim of the project  was to create a faster and safer method of traversing Mars - key factors in the unmanned exploration of the surface of the red planet.  In an environment hostile to humans, remote controlled robots are a main source of crucial information and the more quickly, independently and reliably they can move across the surface, the faster and more reliably knowledge about the planet can be transmitted.
The project advanced technologies in the realm of robot to robot communication and in the sampling of terrain conditions. 

Client:  EU – FP 7 in the frame of Space, Collaborative Project
Consortium Members:  DFKI – German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence, DE; University of Surry, UK; AIRBUS Defense & Space, UK; Space Applications Services NV, BE; LIQUIFER Systems Group, AT; Astri
Polska Sp. z o. o., PL


from Subsea to the Moon


The objective of the MEDUSA project is to test critical elements in the design and utilization of future inflatable habitats for the use on the Moon, Mars or in orbit.
The concept is to develop a fully submerged habitat segment in which elements such as internal living space, IVA, Life-Support-Systems and EVA preparation can be integrated and validated. The habitat is conceived as an inflatable structure and will also include an integrated greenhouse mock-up using algae and an exit port for access to an attached astronaut suit.
A proposed test-platform consists of an access port that would enable personnel to enter the inflatable structure.
The divers that test the habitat will work in a neutral buoyancy condition to simulate the reduced gravity for lunar or Martian scenarios or for the microgravity condition for an orbital application scenario. The proposed project is a first step towards a proof-of-concept of several elements in the development of future inflatable habitats for space applications and could serve to validate IVA aspects in reduced gravity conditions.

Client: Funded in-house by the partners
Consortium:  LIQUIFER Systems Group GmbH, AT; Compagnie Maritime D’Expertises S.A., FR;
University of Delft, NL





at the Austrian Pavilion, La Biennale di Venezia 2010

12th International Architecture Exhibition, ‘People Meet in Architecture’; Austrian pavilion curated by Eric O. Moss, theme: ‘Under Construction’


CO-CHAIR / ESA Contractor 2011 - 2014 and to be continued

ETTAS – ESA Topical Team Arts & Science

ETTAS is an ESA initiative established in 2011 to support collaboration between art, science, engineering and ESA.   Barbara Imhof of LIQUIFER Systems Group, functioned as one of five appointed co-chairs of the organization, including also Dr. J. Michelle Kotler, Christian Waldvogel, Prof. Marko Peljhan, Dr. Sarah Jane Pell




Architecture defined by natural patterns.
Editors: Barbara Imhof, Petra Gruber  Series: Edition Angewandte
Published by Springer, January 2013, ISBN 978-3-7091-1528-2

Radio Orange 94.0 is a unique European radio broadcast focused around the subject of space.  It has been on air for over 10 years under different names and now assumes the name SPACE SPECIALS.




Growing As Building
Current - November 2015

Growth patterns and dynamics from nature are applied to architecture with the goal of creating a new living architecture.

A collaboration between research institution, University of Applied Arts and;
University of Bath, Biomimetics, Mechanical Engineering, UK
University of Freiburg, Botanical Garden, Plant Biomechanics Group, DE
Delft University of Technology,
Participatory Systems, NL
Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development, ET
LIQUIFER Systems Group
, AT



Self-deployable Habitat for Extreme Environments

Current - December 2015

To develop a habitat and habitat test-bed for the simulation of extra-terrestial conditions existing on both the Moon and Mars. This test-bed will provide valuable information and will be used in the further development of extra-terrestrial habitable structures.

LIQUIFER Systems Groups in partnership with:
International Space University, FR
Space Applications Services N.V., BE
Institute of Technology, University of Tartu, EE
Compagnie Maritime D’Expertises S.A., FR 
Sobriety s.r.o., CZ
Space Innovations, v.o.s., CZ

Client:  EU – FP 7 in the frame of Space,
Collaborative project
Image: SHEE Consortium 2014; visualization: Space Innovations




Human-Robot Collaboration

Current - August 2016

Developing Technologies for Human-Robot Collaborations for Surface EVA Exploration Activities and Training purposes in European Analogue Environments.

LIQUIFER Systems Groups in partnership with:
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz, DE
Space Applications Services N.V., BE
NTNU Centre for Interdisciplinary
  Research in Space, NO
Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial; ES

Client:  EU – FP 7 in the frame of Space, Collaborative project


LIQUIFER Systems Group exists because of a collaborative team effort.
Currently LIQUIFER Systems Group comprises of Waltraut Hoheneder, Dr. Barbara Imhof,
Dr. Susmita Mohanty, Dr. Norbert Frischauf, Valentin Eder, Stephen Ransom, Dr. Lutz Richter,
René Waclavicek, Bob Davenport, Chris Gilbert, Molly Hogle,
Dr. Kaspar Vogel, Damjan Minovski


Further we would like to thank all our team members who worked/have been working with us since 2004
Anne-Marlene Rüede, 2014 (CAAS The City As A Spaceship, GrAB Growing As Building)
Ewa Lenart, 2013 (TMW-SPACE, space architecture)

Nina Soltani, 2013 (space architecture)

Dr. Kürsad Özdemir, 2003-2013 (HMM, FIPES, RAMA)

Kjell Herrmann, 2010 – 2011(simonaut, ISS-SLEEP-KIT)

Dr. Sandra Häuplik-Meusburger, 2003 – 2011 (HMM, FIPES, RAMA)

Anna Stürzenbecher, 2008/9 (Deployable Getaway Office and space)

Sonia Leimer, 2007 (All live differently)

Anna Balint, 2005 (model building)

Irmgard Derschmidt, 2004 (model building)

Melanie Klähn, 2005 (conversion of a flat)

Barbara Kolb, 2005 (layout, graphic design)

Paul Mayr, 2004 (ExoMars)

Georg Pamperl 2004 (ExoMars)
Bruno Stubenrauch 
PR, assistant
Emma May since 2010

LIQUIFER Systems Group is a trans-disciplinary platform engaged in designing our future
for space and space related habitation and technologies.


 Night view from the LSG office balcony in Vienna (Photo Credit: Bruno Stubenrauch)

When you emerge from the subterranean metro station at Schwedenplatz in Vienna and look over the Danube canal and gaze towards the sky, you cannot miss the yellow letters which spell out  “C O S M O S” perched on the top of an 8-storey building.
On the top floor of this building, just below the serendipitous sign, is located the home base of LIQUIFER Systems Group. 
From the balconies of the LSG office, in direct line of sight, one can see the beautiful tiled mosaic roof of Stephansdom, Vienna’s main cathedral.  With its rocket-like spires it seems ready to launch up into space at any moment.  A space company couldn’t have wished for a more spectacular location to have its headquarters.

Come visit us sometime!
LIQUIFER Systems Group GmbH
Obere Donaustraße 97/1/62
1020 Vienna, Austria
T: +43 1 21885-05
F: +43 1 21885-056

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