Architecture firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) has recently revealed images of a floating city concept that will hold 10,000 people and could help populations threatened by extreme weather events and rising sea levels.
Named “Oceanix City”, the concept is made up of a collection of hexagonal platforms which are moored to the ocean floor in groups of six to form villages.
The city is capable of producing its own power, fresh water, and heat, which means its designed to grow, transform and adapt organically over time, evolving from neighborhoods to cities with the possibility of scaling indefinitely.
Oceanix City would sit off shore from major coaster cities. However, it can still be towed to other locations in case of a disaster happening. All structures will be designed to survive flooding, tsunamis, hurricanes and any other natural disaster. Arrangements would be flexible so that the cities could be moved if water levels became too low.
The islands would be bolstered by biorock, a material with a limestone coating formed by exposing underwater minerals to an electric current. The self-repairing material becomes stronger overtime so it can withstand harsh weather conditions, is three times harder than concrete, but can still be made to float.
“The idea that we are presenting here is not that we will all be living at sea in the future,” said Ingels, founding partner of BIG “It won’t be waterworld. This is simply another form of human habitat that can be a seed, that essentially can grow with its success as it turns out to be socially and environmentally desirable to chose this lifestyle.”
BIG intends the top of buildings to be constructed from locally sourced “replenishable” materials, like wood and fast-growing bamboo. A number of renewable energy resources, such as wind and water turbines and solar panels are also incorporated. Food production and farming would be integrated and follow a zero-waste policy.
They will also utilize other new technologies including driverless vehicles, drone deliveries, and ocean farming, which involves growing food beneath the surface of the water. Cages underneath the platforms could harvest scallops, kelp, or other forms of seafood. meanwhile aquaponic systems would use waste from fish to help fertilize plants.
“We must build cities for people, not cars,” said Amina Mohammed, UN deputy secretary-general, “And we must build cities knowing that they will be on the frontlines of climate‑related risks — from rising sea levels to storms. Floating cities can be part of our new arsenal of tools.”
Structures populating the modules will be low-level – predicted to rise four to seven stories – in order to keep the centre of gravity. Each mini-village will include a community framework for living, including water baths, markets, spiritual and cultural hubs, but BIG intends the Oceanix City to be adaptable to “any culture, any architecture”.
Chen revealed that the team will move forward with producing a prototype of the scheme, with ambitions to launch it on New York’s East River.