It's good to have a house in the ocean

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It's good to have a house in the ocean
It's good to have a house in the ocean

Even near space has been studied better than the depths of the oceans. But the depths of the sea conceal not only great mysteries, but also incredible opportunities. Who knows, maybe the humanity of the future will have to live exactly there, at the bottom.

Underwater ship

Underwater ship

History can begin in 2012, when the French architect Jacques Rougerie, astronomer Jean-Loup Chretien and oceanologist Jacques Piccard presented the SeaOrbiter project - a large vertical ship, half of which is hidden under water. With a displacement of 1,000 tons, the SeaOrbiter will be 21 meters long and 51 meters high (of which 31 meters are below the waterline). The ship's hull will be made of a heavy-duty magnesium and aluminum alloy. The SeaOrbiter should become a real home for scientists, because the ship is conceived as a research center, as well as a base for divers. The SeaOrbiter will have multiple engines, but most of the time it will just drift with the flow.


Isn't it easier to use a regular bathyscaphe? The fact is that the project involves long-term research, and for a normal life, a person must at least sometimes come to the surface and simply breathe fresh air. Today, technology does not yet allow people to lead a fulfilling life under water.


In total, there can be ten people on board (eight scientists and two crew members) - in any case, at first, the composition is supposed to be just that. Comfortable living quarters, workshops, a library, a gymnasium and more are available on board to make the explorers feel at home.

The observation deck, command bridge, laboratories and a first-aid post will be located above the water. Underwater - cabins, technical and diving compartments, as well as auxiliary equipment. Robots capable of diving to a depth of 600 m will also "live" on the ship.

According to the creators, the construction of the SeaOrbiter will not only answer many questions of oceanology, but also give an idea of ​​the reaction of the human body to a long stay under water. The ship itself is not a cheap pleasure, and its construction can cost $ 52 million. When this underwater miracle of technology will be created, and whether it will be built at all, is still unknown.

City at the bottom

One of the romantics dreaming of the depths of the sea is the British designer Phil Pauley. His underwater city, Sub-Biosphere 2, consists of nine biome spheres. The largest will be located in the center of the complex and will provide management. Small biomes will be located around - these are living spaces, plus infrastructure. The diameter of the biospheres is 340 m.


As conceived by the creators, Sub-Biosphere 2 will be able to provide itself with all the necessary resources. For this, the city will house an air regeneration complex, a water desalination system and autonomous power plants. In addition, the residents of Sub-Biosphere 2 will be engaged in crop production.

The term "hydropolis" was introduced into circulation by the Russian science fiction writer Alexander Belyaev. In 1930, his novel Underwater Farmers sparked a great deal of interest in the topic. It describes the life of underwater farmers who created a dwelling from the hull of a sunken Japanese ship. The book was created in the best traditions of socialist realism, and the so-called "pests" are becoming the main enemy of the underwater inhabitants.

Scientists, tourists affected by natural disasters - all of them will be able to stay under the dome of Sub-Biosphere 2. However, the total number of residents of such a city is limited to a modest figure of 100.

A useful feature of an underwater city is that it can be located both on the surface of the ocean and under water. Biomes carry special structures that are attached to the ocean floor. Due to this, Sub-Biosphere 2 will be able to move up and down in the water column, like on an elevator.And for swimming horizontally, rails can be laid right at the bottom.

Phil Pauley has been hatching the idea of ​​creating Sub-Biosphere 2 for twenty years, and it looks like it will take at least as many more to find investments. Therefore, there is no timeframe for the implementation of the project yet. In addition, security is a major concern: what happens if, for some reason, the central biome collapses? Will the rest be able to exist autonomously? Paulie has no answers to such questions yet.

Underwater skyscrapers

Architects from all over the world are working on the idea of ​​underwater skyscrapers. The complexes located under water are designed to solve many problems, including environmental ones.

So, the project of the British company Zigloo is a whole residential area of ​​Gyre, most of which is hidden under water: on the surface there are only four huge platforms diverging in different directions, forming a circle with a diameter of 1250 m.

But the most interesting part of Gyre is hidden under the water column - a giant 400 m high skyscraper goes to the ocean floor, narrowing closer to the base. At the same time, it does not touch the bottom itself and keeps afloat, staying on four floating surface platforms.


Here, in the underwater part of the Gyre, there will be a residential complex, offices, shops, cafes, parks and much more. Surface platforms will serve as a pier and will be able to receive sea ships, including large cruise liners.

The creators of Gyre focus on the environmental friendliness of their development: in addition to solar panels and wind turbines, Gyre will be able to use electricity generated by circulating water. The turbines will be powered by the energy of the currents and sea waves, and, if necessary, will be able to function as engines and allow the "microdistrict" to float on the ocean.

Gyre is also expected to be completely self-sufficient: rainwater and moisture will be collected in huge reservoirs and allow edible plants to be grown here.

Now the implementation of such a large-scale project is impossible, but there is still hope for the implementation of the project. Global warming and the melting of glaciers can lead to a rise in sea levels, and then such cities will be a salvation for many people.

Another interesting concept of an underwater skyscraper was presented by Malaysian designer Sarly Adre Bin Sarkum. His "water scraper" Water Scraper will be under water almost entirely. Life support facilities will be located at the lower levels, and residential complexes and infrastructure facilities closer to the surface. Wind and solar power plants will be installed on the surface to ensure energy independence from the mainland.


However, the most amazing thing about the Water Scraper project is the giant "tentacles" that give it the appearance of an incredible squid. However, the "tentacles" have an important purpose: they must extract energy from underwater currents and maintain the stability of the "water scraper" in swimming.

The developers have not yet indicated the exact dimensions of the skyscraper. Apparently, the height of the complex can be compared with the Empire State Building (102 floors, 443 m). However, precisely because of the size of the Water Scraper and the many technologically complex tasks facing its creators, the project will have to wait a very long time. But this is far from the most ambitious idea of ​​housing in the ocean.

One of the most ambitious concepts was presented by the design company De Bever Architecten BNA. The underwater skyscraper Underwater Skyscraper 7, in fact, is itself a whole city, capable of accommodating 6 thousand people. Housing, cinemas, cafes, recreation areas, hospitals - all this can be seen on its "streets". The shape of the skyscraper resembles a giant glass, the lower part of which goes to the ocean floor. Unfortunately, more detailed information on the concept is not reported, as well as the timing of the project.


American enthusiasts William Erwin and Dan Fletcher have their own vision.Their Seascraper concept was shown at the 2006 and 2009 Annual Skyscraper Competitions. Like other similar ideas, the Seascraper is not just an underwater house, but an entire underwater city with housing, recreational facilities, science centers, and more.


The concave shape of the "sea scraper" will allow the sun's rays to penetrate deep into its floors. In addition, this solution should ensure efficient collection of rainwater in special tanks. The creators of Seascraper want to get energy like everyone else - from underwater currents and the Sun. The desalination plant will be located at the bottom of the Seascraper.

Garbage "sea scrapers"

Unlike previous projects, Lady Landfill by Serbian architects Milorad Vidojevi, Milica Pihler and Jelena Pucarevi is a sea scraper almost completely hidden under water.


The idea of ​​the authors was prompted by a giant island of waste floating in the ocean - the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”. This "atoll", according to some estimates, can reach a mass of 3.5 million tons. A particular danger is plastic, which decomposes extremely slowly, releasing toxins that cause irreparable harm to the environment.

The creators of Lady Landfill want to use this waste for good purposes: the "sea scraper" will be built from garbage, and plastic is used as the main building material. Lady Landfill will also receive energy from waste recycling, which will become the main task of the project. But Lady Landfill isn't just a floating waste disposal plant. The complex will include residential and office premises, most of which will be located on the above-water part of the complex. The lower floors will take up garbage stocks, which will also serve as ballast to stabilize the floating structure. Having freed itself from it, the skyscraper will be able to hit the road - to another accumulation of waste.


The Serbian concept was awarded in 2011 at the eVolo architecture competition. The developers even indicated the site of the proposed construction - according to plans, initially the complex could be located off the northern coast of Chile. The creators have not yet named the exact timing of the start of construction and the amount of investment, although their project looks much more realistic than other structures of this type.


By the way, a similar idea was put forward by Korean developers in 2012. Their underwater complex Plastic Fish Tower is designed to collect plastic floating in the ocean and recycle it for energy. The designers outlined only the appearance of the Plastic Fish Tower, but they decided to entrust the method of waste recycling to scientists. Most likely, Plastic Fish Tower will collect waste using multi-kilometer nets. Most of the complex will remain hidden under water, with only about a quarter of it going to the surface. In addition to processing facilities, the complex will include recreation areas - it is likely that tourists will also be able to visit the facility.


Prototypes only

Technology is still too far from being able to create a full-fledged city on the ocean floor. Few scientists are attracted by such complex tasks, so the projects of underwater cities are still the lot of designers and ambitious multimillionaires who want to invest in them. Nevertheless, many ambitious projects started small, so underwater cities have every chance of a future.

The ruling princely family in Monaco - the Grimaldi family - is thinking about building an underwater city near the shores of their country. By her order, a design bureau from Switzerland designs a dwelling in the form of a ring with a diameter of about 10 km, covered with a protective dome. A 30-storey residential complex for 300 thousand apartments, as well as cinemas, cafes, shops, sports grounds and everything that the inhabitants of this "sea casino" may need, can be built on the territory of the city.

In the meantime, the existing concepts of underwater housing cannot even be called prototypes: many important details have not been voiced, technologies have not been worked out, no dates have been named, the financial question remains open … But they all outline the main directions of engineering thought, which is interested in the possibilities of autonomous existence and the problems of preserving the environment. Unification within a single complex of different areas - such as tourism, scientific research, waste recycling - will undoubtedly also become one of the directions of development.


Underwater settlements are not as widespread in science fiction as space ones.In our time, the most famous underwater city has become "Rapture" - an underwater settlement from the popular computer game BioShock, a city-utopia, frozen in development at the level of the first half of the XX century.

If we talk about the implementation of something like that now, then there is simply no such opportunity. And it won't appear in the foreseeable future either. To take on the implementation of the idea of ​​an underwater city, humanity must make more than one technological leap.

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