Real-Life Water World: Futuristic Offshore Architecture


As rising seas overtake the shores and the human population continues to grow, some experts believe we’ll eventually have no choice but to live in a real-life ‘water world’, building hotels, homesteads and even entire cities on the open ocean. Forward-thinking architects are already planning for this possibility, and their futuristic designs range from Star Wars-inspired marine research facilities to luxurious undersea hotels.

Hydropolis Underwater Hotel


(images via: Builder Blog)

A vast luxury hotel bigger than London’s Hyde Park, with 220 guest suites, bars, restaurants, shops and theaters – all located under the surface of the sea. While the Hydropolis Hotel sounds like a wonder of science fiction, it’s currently under construction in (where else?) Dubai. Located in the Arabian Gulf just off the coastline, the hotel will shuttle guests from land to the submarine complex through a train in a tunnel.

Waterpod Floating Eco-Habitat


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Imagine living on your own fully self-sustainable homestead, complete with a wind turbine, fresh organic food from your gardens, and a source of fresh purified water from a nearby river. Now, imagine that said homestead is actually a floating, movable island that could help your family survive the worst of climate change consequences. The ‘Waterpod’ is its own little eco-habitat, a sustainable community built from recycled materials, and a group of artists built it and took it on a four-month journey down New York’s East River in 2009.

Marine Research Facility Inspired by Star Wars


(images via: Builder Blog)

Marine research facilities dot coastlines around the world, but they’re usually not much to look at. The Facility at Sea would change that, with a surprising design inspired by Star Wars, trees and offshore oil platforms. The center structural element of each building is a trunk-like column that houses many of the facility’s most important functions, like energy storage, the engine room and the control room. Laboratories, classrooms and offices would take up the “research spheres”, while “habitat disks” will contain living areas. Meant to house scientists for 6-12 month periods, this design by Jason Mellard would be situated both above and below the surface of the water.

Eco-Friendly but Unrealistic Bering Strait Bridge


(images via: Inhabitat)

It’s a fascinating concept, but one that’s unlikely to ever become reality: an astounding eco-friendly bridge spanning the Bering Strait that would not only facilitate trade between the U.S. and Russia and protect wildlife, but serve as a visual spectacle unlike any structure ever built. The proposal by OFF Architecture envisions a self-contained, clean energy-powered ecosystem in harmony with marine life and would also feature a park and a Utopian “village of tomorrow”.

Poseidon Undersea Resort


(images via: One Nation Magazine)

If you’ve ever dreamed of sleeping 40 feet underwater and piloting your own personal submarine through a tropical lagoon, the Poseidon Undersea Resort is currently the only place in the world where you can actually do both. An elevator transports guests to little pods on the seafloor equipped with clear acrylic walls for a virtually uninterrupted view of the sea. For a pretty penny, guests can rent the luxurious Nautilus Suite, which is decorated in the fashion of Jules Verne’s submarine. The Poseidon Undersea Resort opens in early 2010 and will cost $30,000 per couple per week.

Floating Airport for San Diego


(image via: Infrastructurist)

What’s a cramped city to do when there’s simply no room for a much-needed airport expansion? How about building a floating airport off the coast? San Diego lawyer Adam Englund came up with the idea to build the city’s airport on an oil rig-style floating platform 10 miles off the coast, which would also function as a massive three-square-mile artificial reef. Englund and his 40-plus professsional collaborators including pilots, naval architects, maritime engineers have a $20 billion business plan to make it happen, but the biggest obstacle is getting permission from the government.

Solar Offshore Parking Lot


(images via: Design Boom)

Instead of wasting space in a city, parked cars could be producing solar energy with their windshields in an offshore parking lot. That’s the idea behind the Solasis Light Tower, a floating platform that would turn vehicles’ windshields into heliostats to concentrate sunlight and turn it into renewable energy. Drivers could either take an underground metro line to get into the city, or simply walk.

Self-Sufficient Floating Home


(images via: Inhabitat)

Intended for use as a rental home by sea-lovers wishing for an offshore life, the House on the Water is a cantilevered, modern eco-friendly home that would draw its power from solar and tidal energy. Water recycling and desalination, natural ventilation and a high-tech shading system run by computer are just a few features of the home. Designed specifically for the Mediterranean off the northwest coast of the Greek Zante island, the home is painted stark white in typical Greek style and is made from concrete and steel.

The Swimming City


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The Seasteading Institute’s first 3-D design competition drew a number of impressive entries, with participants submitting their concepts for seasteads – floating platforms allowing people to settle the ocean as they do on land – created with 3-D modeling software. The overall winner was The Swimming City by architectural graphic designer András Gyõrfi. This design most closely resembles contemporary cities on land, with colorful villas, a helicopter landing pad and a central courtyard.

SESU Seastead


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The SESU (self-sustained) Seastead design by architect Marko Järvela was the aesthetics winner in the competition, with an exterior shell that calls to mind the scales and fins of fish. Says Järvela, “The main objectives of the design have been aerodynamics, hydrodynamics as well as the capability to sail the open sea and withstand harsh weather conditions. The layered interior is derived from thermal and functional zoning. Passive solar design principles have been employed and vegetation is used extensively to control indoor climate and provide food for the inhabitants.”

Seagull Hotel


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The Seagull Hotel was the overall runner-up, envisioned by designer Matias Perez as a six-star oceanic inn. This decidedly industrial-looking design features four main buildings topped with octopus-like structures that stretch their metallic ‘tentacles’ down to the ground.

Oasis of the Sea – Luxury Open-Ocean Resort


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Emerson Stepp’s Oasis of the Sea is a sustainable, luxurious eco-resort on the ocean adorned with wind turbines, palm trees and a number of round porthole-like windows. Says the architecture student, “I designed my seastead to be visually appealing yet at the same time able to withstand the harsh atmosphere that comes with maritime architecture.  I tried to make the design mimic the environment yet remain a separate entity, and I also utilized alot of lush vegetation to ensure that the seastead lost the feel of just being on a large boat.  I tried to make the areas around the structure seem as much like a beautiful urban park as possible to help people acclimate to the new setting.”