Floating Cities of the Future

The Seascraper

Illustration by William Erwin and Dan Fletcher, eVolo

Touted as an eco-friendly floating city, the Seascraper (pictured in an artist’s conception) is among a raft of concepts for  sustainable offshore settlements. With more than seven billion people on  the planet, mass migrations to cities, and increased risks of flooding  and sea level rise, more and more architects and innovators seem to be  weighing anchor.

 

 

Waterscraper

Illustration by Mathias Koester, eVolo

With only its stabilizing floating ring and transparent dome protruding above the sea, the Waterscraper is envisioned as a tubelike underwater residence and lab—all designed to withstand crushing water pressures.

Natural  light would filter down from the dome as the Waterscraper drifts from  one destination to the next. Beaches, restaurants, a marina, and a dive  center would cater to luxury-apartment dwellers and hotel guests.

Concepts like the Waterscraper are being touted as potential solutions to the planet’s urban population pressures.

According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs,  half of humanity currently calls an urban area home. And before we  reach 2050, India’s cities will grow by 497 million people, China’s by  341 million, Nigeria’s by 200 million, and the United States’ by 103  million.

 

 

Oil Rig Reimagined

Illustration by YoungWan Kim/SueHwan Kwun/JunYoung Park/JoongHa Park, eVolo

The Water Circles concept would convert old oil platforms into water-treatment plants  that transform saltwater into fresh water. Remaining fossil fuel  extraction infrastructure would be used to channel seawater into the  floating desalination plant.

Spherical  modules would distill saltwater and store fresh water bound for  water-poor countries. The old oil rigs would also house researchers and  sustain on-site food production, according to the South Korea-based  design team.

 

 

Floating Cruise Ship Terminal

Illustration courtesy Koen Olthius and Dutch Docklands

This  5-million-square-foot (490,000-square-meter) floating cruise-ship  terminal could host three large vessels while providing passengers a  novel offshore experience, complete with open-ocean hotel stays,  shopping, and dining, according to designers.

An  inner “harbor” would allow smaller vessels to dock and would provide  natural light for the interior of the terminal. Ten percent of the roof  would be covered in photovoltaic cells that harvest solar power,  according to Dutch architect Koen Olthuis of Waterstudio.NL.

The  terminal is just a vision now, but Olthuis’s firm, which is committed  to buildings that both adapt to and combat the challenges presented by  climate change and sea level rise, has made other floating fantasies  come to life.

Waterstudio.NL,  based in the Netherlands, has worked on a floating city near The Hague  and has started projects in the Maldives, China, and the United Arab  Emirates.

 

 

The Citadel

Illustration courtesy Koen Olthius

Scheduled  for completion in 2014, the Citadel could be Europe’s first floating  apartment building, according to architect Koen Olthuis of Waterstudio.NL.  The 60-unit complex is to be built in the Dutch city of Westland, near  The Hague, and is meant to protect people from flooding in a country  that sits, to a large degree, below sea level.

Holland  is home to more than 3,500 inland depressions, which can fill with  water when it rains, when tides come in, or as seas rise overall. These  so-called polders are often drained by pumps to protect residents.

Floating  single-family homes are not uncommon in this soggy country, but the  Citadel—to be built on a flooded polder—will be the first high-density  floating residential development. The complex’s floating concrete  foundation will be connected to higher ground via a floating road.

Olthuis  predicts the Citadel—and its five planned neighbors—will consume 25  percent less energy over its life span than a conventional building.

 

 

Green Sea Star

Illustration courtesy Koen Olthius

Slated to open in 2014, the Greenstar is to be a floating hotel and conference center off the Maldives in the  Indian Ocean. The island nation is the world’s lowest-lying country,  making it among the most threatened by anticipated climate  change-induced sea level rise.

Designed  by Waterstudio.NL to blend in with its ocean surroundings, the  Greenstar will have room for 800 overnight guests and 2,000 conference  attendees.

Intended  to be highly efficient, the development’s small environmental footprint  is a tribute to the country’s determination to fight global warming,  according to Waterstudio.NL architects. Appropriately enough, organizers  intend the Greenstar to be the number one meeting place for global  climate change discussions.

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