In the new issue of US Infrastructure, we look at future transport such as high-speed rail, floating airports and cable transport, but what about accommodation of the future? Could you live in a skyscraper where the views aren't of parks, skylines and sunsets, but of fish and the deep blue sea?
That is the concept put forward by Canadian design firm Zigloo. Dubbed The Gyre, the aqua-skyscraper is, in Zigloo's own words, "a new class of Eco-tourism bringing scientists and vacationers together to understand what is the least known environment on our planet, the ocean."
"As much as a skyscraper is an economical method of reducing humankind's footprint on land, Gyre goes a step further by juxtaposing that footprint to the ocean, and is perhaps its greenest feature. Its unique design permits the simultaneous application of wind, solar, and tidal energy generation technologies thereby making it truly 'off-grid'.
"Peaking at a depth of 400m, its ample space provides for a comfortable living and working environment, including space for shops, restaurants, gardens, and recreation."
Plus if the ice caps melt and water levels rise, cities on the water may become the only practical solution.
The fact that The Gyre is completely powered by renewable sources means that the structure can be a completely independently-functioning base. In addition to using vertical axis wind turbines, electrical energy would be collected by solar means. Rainwater is harvested in the inner vortex and gravity fed to the water purification system at the base of the Gyre.
Meanwhile, underwater nacelles function both as tidal generators when the structure is anchored and as thrusters for propulsion when Gyre is under way.
That's right, it would be able to move. The design of the structure would allow it to manage undersea pressures and stresses by virtue of its shape.
The main 'skyscraper' section would go down to a depth of 400 metres (1,312 ft) and would be about the same height as the Empire State Building. Its interior would start at approximately 30,000 sq meters of space with each floor down getting progressively smaller, down to 600 sq meters. The total floor area of the entire structure is 212,000 sq.meters, or roughly 40 football fields.
Above the waves, the structure would boast four arms extending out from the center spire. Each arm would be 1.25 km in length and act to buoy the structure as well as create a safe inner harbor and port large enough to accommodate the world’s largest ships.
So a peek at the city of the future or merely an oceanographer's dream lab like proposed SeaOrbiter?
To learn more about the proposed transport of the future, click below to subscribe to the new issue of US Infrastructure.
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