Bio-mimicry is a fast emerging trend within the building sector. Japanese technology firm Shimizu, however, is taking nature-modeling to unprecedented scales with its concept for water lily-inspired floating metropolises wandering the equatorial oceans.
Dubbed ‘Green Float,’ the project consists of modular cells housing between 10,000 and 50,000 residents, each a kilometer wide and nearly self-sufficient. Planners envision artificial urban centers and even entire ‘countries’ as individual cells connect together, forming lily-like clusters of varying sizes.
Each cell consists of a large central tower, over 1,000 meters high, containing the residential and commercial areas. The tower also doubles as a massive ‘plant factory,’ employing advanced farming techniques to recycle nutrients and produce highest possible yields in the most efficient amount of space. Along the base of the cell lie areas for cereal, fish, and seaweed cultivation.
These floating eco-metropolises aim to be carbon-negative, producing no waste and supplying their own power and material needs. Even the surrounding environment has been taken into consideration in their design – the cities are free floating, ensuring no one area of the sea is deprived of sufficient sunlight for native ecosystems.
To stabilize the floating neighborhoods, strong elastic membranes would create elevated artificial lagoons around the outer circumference, using the water pressure difference to dampen the force of waves and currents. The unique location of the proposed cells – the equatorial Pacific Ocean – ensures stable, albeit warm, temperatures, little chance of heavy storms or hurricanes, and low tsunami danger on the open water.
Shimizu is partnering with other companies to develop the technologies needed to make the Green Float project a reality within the next few decades.