The Green Screens Project >> Architecture >> What will the future commnuties look like? Some say the Hydropolis is our future

Skip To Content

artists rendering of the lilypa ecopolis

What will the future commnuties look like? Some say the Hydropolis is our future

In a developing trend more people are starting to foresee a future where building designs the likes of those seen in science fiction films will be necessary to both promote the health of their surrounding eco-systems but for the safety of its inhabitants on an oft unpredictable planet. Some of the more radical designs cropping up in various proposals are those of water-based communities. However, all things considered, in a world with disappearing ice caps and what is predicted to be a resulting significant sea level rise, there is a likelihood urban living, which is often coastal will have to be completely reevaluated.

Before we all can start living on/under the water their needs to be a successful model to follow when it comes to the building materials and design. In a few attempts so far most notably the extremely confident and almost arrogant Hydropolis Hotel, which was under construction for years before the project was halted to assess the environmental effects of the displaced sea floor. The project has since been plagued by delays but the 220-suite hotel is taking shape and planning to open in 2009. Similar projects like the Poseidon Hotel, Fiji look like they will also be successful in offering guests the chance to live underwater with suites that are mostly comprised of one-way glass for a full view of the ocean around them.

The hotel plans to begin booking reservations in September 2009 at an introductory rate of 15000$ per person for a week long stay which includes 4 nights in the above water accommodation and 2 nights below in the suites, a fine dining meal on a submarine tour, scuba diving, a 3 person excursion in a personal submarine with a trained instructor, a system of tunnels presumably which allow the guests to walk on the sea floor named the sea-trek system, and lectures on the marine biology and ecology of the environment around them.

Though these may serve as small scale and highly expensive examples of what’s possible; soon inevitably the continued effort to improve and refine the construction process could lead to the development of much more of these completely way news to utilize the water space around tightly packed coastal cities. One city more effected by its dense population than arguably any other is Tokyo, citizens have been reducing personal living space for decades but may be on the verge of a undertaking that would be the biggest effort to improve the city itself, which would be done by moving a portion of it to a new home above the Tokyo Bay.

The Shimizu City in a Pyramid is certainly radical, but is it plausible or even possible to build such a structure? The scale of the proposed complex is truly mind-boggling, the pyramid would be 12 times taller than the Great Pyramid of Giza, about 6,575 feet, allowing for 750,000 occupants, commercial, and public spaces. The Shimizu would be constructed by combining 55 smaller pyramids, each about the size of the Luxor, Las Vegas Nevada, stacked 5 layers high to form one massive structure.

This unbelievable structure is physically impossible to build because of the weight of the necessary materials at such heights using conventional building methods. However, a recent scientific discovery could make the project more likely than ever. The use of carbon nano-tubes, a revolutionary self-constructing material which naturally forms the intensely strong tube shaped molecules, is becoming a more likely substance to be widely used in construction in the near future, now the idea is no longer impossible in fact possible earlier than anyone imagined.

Both the hotels under construction today and the Shimizu proposal have one common yet fundamental flaw though; they remain anchored to the sea floor. With the ice caps showing what now is irrefutable evidence of global warming, are most cities the aforementioned hotels and even the Shimizu Pyramid in grave danger. The loss of the ice covering Greenland would result in about a 20 feet rise of the sea level. No doubt resulting in drastic flood risks in cities like Amsterdam and New Orleans already plagued by the sea level; they would now face insurmountable problems when combined storm surges.

This is where the lily pad design comes in. By following nature’s design of the floating lily pad a Belgian visionary architect has come up with radical style of community habitat could in the more distant future be just the necessary amphibious living city we need to survive flooding. The Lilypad Ecopolis is Vincent Callebaut’s proposal for sustainable floating miniature cities that could come in many different forms to suit its 50,000 residents and their surrounding climate and environments. Callebaut’s Lilypad production would be totally carbon neutral utilizing solar, thermal, wind, and tidal energy. The floating habitats would be made up of 3 marinas, 3 mountain areas that look like across between Tolkien’s Shire and a high-rise, and a central freshwater lagoon acting as ballast. The whole complex would be covered in foliage in order to become more of a living mass and to promote bio-diversity that could be lost due to rising sea levels.

Callebaut’s ambition for the project doesn’t end there. One day he envisions the low lying areas threatened by rising sea levels to have coast lines dotted with these amazing eco-friendly and futuristic habitats; but also Lilypad models that float along tidal currents like massive living cruise ships. The last piece of the puzzle is finding a contractor with the shared vision of Belgian, Callebaut, so we take comfort in the fact we may in our own lifetimes see the stunningly elegant structures realized. The Lilypad Ecopolis effectively combines the fascination of exploring the oceans that the underwater hotels capture, the necessity for new large ways to use ocean real estate as residential centers like that of the Shimizu Pyramid, the design of mother nature, and sustainable energy sources, into one mixture that could become the future of eco-friendly living.

Other Related Articles