Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut specialises in glossy, far-fetched solutions to the world’s environmental problems. The self-described archibiotect’s latest is a corkscrew-shaped skyscraper that makes oceanic garbage patches into livable islands.
His vision for Aequorea includes 3D-printing floating habitats out of plastics harvested from ocean trash. These oceanic skyscrapers would be designed to house up to 20,000 people per village with spaces for living, working, recreation, and scientific research stacked above hydroponic farms growing algae, plankton, and mollusks to feed the residents.
Above the water’s surface, greenhouses would grow vegetables and fruits. Each floating structure would be about 500 metres wide (about 1640 feet) by 1000 metres deep (about 3280 feet), and be located across the globe in the middle of major ocean gyres (the systems of ocean currents that trap trash in places like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch).
The buildings are shaped with tentacles like those of a jellyfish extending far below the water’s surface, which would keep the structures stable even in high winds. Most of the structure would be located under the water, kind of like an iceberg you can live in.
Callebaut’s futuristic ocean-based society won’t be built any time soon, but considering that rising sea levels are already projected to swallow low-lying cities like New Orleans and Miami in the not-so-distant future, we could use a few more ideas for how to live in harmony with the ocean.