Oculus Pod, the technological oasis in the desert

Gianluca Riccio

Architecture

Oculus Pod

A habitable module for desert tourism and activities? Oculus Pod seems like the ideal, self-sufficient and nature-inspired solution.

Oculus Pod is a concept design inspired by succulents, desert organisms with the ability to shade themselves to reduce the internal temperature. A unique ability, which allows them to survive even the extreme temperatures of desert climates. 

With this biomimetic approach, the Oculus Pod architecture has the adaptability like a comet. The habitable module transforms into different configurations depending on the time of day, climate or user needs. Oculus Pod meets users' needs, whether it's stargazing or wildlife watching. And it is made for the night: in the desert it is normal for the major activities to be concentrated in the night hours. That's when the heat recedes.

Oculus Pod

A module for living in the desert

The Oculus Pod is designed with a versatile shading system: it contracts and retracts as needed. At its top, the system folds down to reveal a frameless acrylic dome, which gives its inhabitants stunning views of the Milky Way.

Designed by AIDIA Studio, Oculus Pod retracts its casing during the day to open the front of the module, thus revealing the main entrance. When privacy is needed, the cover can be fully unfolded and also helps filter heat, allowing natural light to illuminate the room inside. When completely 'closed', Oculus Pod camouflages and blends in with the surrounding environment, becoming imperceptible even to wildlife.

Oculus Pod
Oculus Pod, the retractable “skin”.

Oculus Pod, nature inspires and teaches

The self-shading that covers the cabin has been designed to improve environmental performance. The Oculus Pod's panels are inspired by nature as several desert species feature a thick outer skin, folds and fins that they use to spread heat and solar radiation. The same idea is realized in the sixty articulated shading panels. A system that creates a dense network to protect the cabin. The panels get denser as they get closer to the top. A way to adapt to the shape of the curvature while also increasing the reflective capacity.

Could the solar panels have been missing? No, and in fact there are. And they are DSSC solar cells, flexible and latest generation. They are capable of producing photovoltaic electricity even in low light conditions, providing the necessary energy to each Oculus Pod. Each module is also equipped with a water tank with wastewater filtration and recycling system.

Oculus Pod, the inside and airy part

The future will be made (also) of discreet, invisible and zero impact tourism in the desert like in the mountains.

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