Water is one of the most basic human needs. A view of our planet from space shows 70,9 % of earths’ surface is covered by oceans. We perceive oceans as the border of the land, urbanization and human activity. For us a challenge to research the possibilities of a skyscraper city in the ocean.
This project investigates how colonizing and exploring the ocean can provide us with new working and living possibilities. The challenge is to design a skyscraper that is related to the underwater world as much as to the sky, a building form related to boats and oil platforms. We started to examine a fishing float because of it unique floating capacities and the almost equal relationship to the underwater world and the sky.
The self-sufficient, independent unit is designed to obtain energy by ocean thermal energy conversion. The stabilizer underneath the water keeps the building in the right position and provides cold ocean water [5°C (41ºF)] up to the structure. It is used for cooling the gas that drives the power turbine. The by-product of the energy conversion system is clean, drinkable water. The building overcomes the inefficient land use inconveniences and there is no need for cables connecting it to the main land. The tube is rigid enough to resist the strong currents. With the inbuilt sensor, it can overcome seabed obstacles by emptying the water tanks. The pipe can move up together with the whole structure. The building depends on water, it floats on water. Water provides the energy and plays the main role in the cooling system. The advance of a structure that’s half under the water and a half exposed to the heat of the sun, is used in the cooling/heating system, by simply providing a circulation between those two different areas.
The form of the building also has another usage. The antenna on top, can receive or send information to the land. It serves as a nautical navigation system. The building can provide support for travellers in difficult conditions. The underwater stabilizer is in fact an elevator, which can take you to depth of a 100 meters (330 feet) under the sea level. Oceanic research conducted in such a facility would involve much less ships, submersibles and diving technologies. It could be more continuous, long-term and precise. The rich biodiversity can lead to knew pharmaceutical inventions. According to the first Census of Marine Life, the worlds oceans may contain over 750,000 species which are yet to be discovered. The Ocean thermal energy conversion could also be a process for extracting 57 elements dissolved in ocean water. The building provides enough square feets to include laboratories, water tanks, and recreation facilities for the users. With other units of the same type it can form a net like a city.
The building is not only a research station. It is home for 6000 people, a recreation space, and a hotel for visitors. The vast number of additional facilities (cinemas, hospital, fitness clubs) to care about the users health and well-being. You can enjoy a 1,5-mile-walk on the ramp up the structure, and indulge in Nordic walking. Or by taking another ramp with a shorter route, you could train mountaineering.
The most important aspect of the design, is learning how we can use the seas and oceans more efficiently, developing a huge spectrum of opportunities that oceans can provide. It is also a vision of a new type of urbanisation, which can bring us to new forms of recreation. A facility without pollution, traffic noise and congestion of the land areas.
DE BEVER ARCHITECTEN BNA