The New Mexico Spaceport Authority has unveiled Foster + Partners’ winning design plans for the world’s first privately owned spaceport – a structure that uses the earth as its berm that looks straight out of Star Wars.

Rising out of the New Mexico desert, Foster + Partners’ creation will work with the natural contours of the earth, relying on it for most of its heating, cooling and lighting needs.

Photovoltaic panels will generate electricity and water will be recycled from the rolling concrete shells that roof the massive $31m structure, which offers a view of the runway and spacecraft during lift off.

Visitors and astronauts enter via a deep channel hidden by the landscape.

The New Mexico Spaceport Authority says local materials and regional construction techniques will be used to create the building.

“The design is outstanding in the way it blends in with the environment, creating a shape that is both distinctive and functional while complementing the landscape,” New Mexico Space Authority head Kelly O’Donnell says.

The UK-based design firm, working alongside URS, SMPC Architects, PHA Consult, Balis and Company and Exploration-Synthesis Partners, also had to consider security and privacy while maximising the amount of space tourists could access.

Reported by Penny Jones