The sounds of the jungle catch me off guard on my first morning waking up in the SeaPod, a futuristic overwater bungalow off the Caribbean coast of Panama that is now open for overnight stays.
Hidden in the lush surrounding terrain, southern house wrens croon their scratchy wake-up call and whistling kiskadees compete with bellowing Howler monkeys. It’s quite the juxtaposition: my ultra-modern accommodation, complete with Starlink internet, touchscreen controls, and more than 100 sensors that measure everything from wind factor and lightning strikes to the SeaPod’s power and water consumption—and the primordial world at its doorstep.
The SeaPod, of which I’m among the first guests, is completely unlike the traditional thatched roof overwater bungalows I’ve visited elsewhere in French Polynesia and Jamaica—not least because it operates almost entirely on solar power, and harvests rain water on its roof. But unlike typical bungalows that rest permanently atop pillars wedged into the sand or rock, it floats on the water’s surface, temporarily tethered to the seabed with anchors that leave a far smaller footprint on the ocean floor.
“You don’t need to destroy the environment to place them there, since they’re truly floating,” says Laura Fernandes de Barros Marangoni, a post-doctoral researcher with Panama’s Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. “Bungalows and standard coastal resorts do touch the seabed—and tend to be more damaging to the local ecosystems.”
It’s this distinguishing feature, in part, that allows it to act as an artificial reef—not only minimizing damage to its environs, but actually restoring it. The invention of the high-tech ocean-innovation company Ocean Builders, the 845-square-foot SeaPod—whose open, circular design accommodates a kitchen, a small living room, and a bedroom and bathroom—is supported by air-filled steel tubes that rest beneath the water’s surface. Using the solar power it collects, the SeaPod generates a mild electrical current that works to attract calcium carbonate—a substance that not only protects the structure from corrosion and rust, but that also happens to be the building block of another crucial material: coral.
“Calcium carbonate is the best possible substrate for new coral recruits to settle themselves,” says Ronald Osinga, Assistant Professor in Marine Animal Ecology at Wageningen University in The Netherlands, who advises Ocean Builders on reef restoration projects. “So in this way, natural development of coral biodiversity is enhanced. The SeaPod is likely to become a source of a large variety of coral materials for reef renewal.”
Ocean Builders’ founder, Grant Romundt, became convinced of that while testing a prototype for the SeaPod offshore from Phuket, Thailand, in 2019. Within two months of launching the bare-bones beta version, he was amazed to see coral colonizing the structure’s steel tubing.
“Everywhere you looked there were thousands of fish,” Romundt says. “I was really excited. I realized our houses can restore sea life in the ocean as opposed to a house on land, where you cut down nature to build it—then put a potted plant in the corner to replace what you cut down.”
Romundt, who is Canadian, also has Panamanian residency. (The country’s Panama Residence by Investment Program, also known as the Panama golden visa, offers residence to foreigners willing to make a substantial investment into the country.) He chose Panama to launch the project, he told me, not only for its “beautiful marine environment and attractiveness for on-the-water-living,” but because it lies below the hurricane belt, making it a good place to test the concept’s initial viability. (Down the road, he plans to build hurricane-proof SeaPods to put in places like Florida, where there’s been much interest in the project.)
Romundt had originally conceived of the SeaPod as a residential structure, to expand coastal living options in an eco-friendly way. But the idea to turn the SeaPod into a hospitality project came naturally, he says.
“Giving people an amazing experience of what living in a floating home is like is the best way of growing and expanding our vision globally,” he says. “The steps we are taking here in Panama will be the basis for the future expansion of floating resorts in other parts of the world.”
Here, a dedicated concierge can stock your kitchen with local pineapple and lobster, and arrange experiences like in-pod dining with a personal chef, or excursions with Ocean Builders’ partners to visit other eco-restorative projects.
One morning, on a scuba diving adventure into Portobelo National Park with Jean Carlos Blanco, Executive Director of Reef2Reef Restoration Foundation, I donned a scuba tank to dive within a coral nursery, where some 750 individual corals are growing as part of a project with Panama’s Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The goal, Blanco tells me, is to eventually outplant 5,000 corals within the national park. His organization is also testing 3D-printing with Ocean Builders to develop coral to add to the SeaPods’ submerged steel tubing, another potential generator of marine life.
During another excursion—a hike and kayak trip into Portobelo National Park—my guide, Jason Ashcroft of Portobelo Adventures, shuffles a patch of leaves to reveal a green poison dart frog, and guides me to an island abloom with wild orchids.
Beyond Panama, says Romundt, one of the places Ocean Builders has set its sights on is the Maldives, a destination known for overwater bungalows—although none as tech-forward and eco-restorative as the SeaPod, which is the only project of its kind.
The project, which has already been approved by local partners, will “take the over-the-water bungalow concept that is so popular in the region and build out a fully floating resort based on SeaPods,” Romundt says, adding that more details will be available later this year. Ocean Builders is also in talks with partners in Dubai for a project that will mix residential- and hospitality-oriented SeaPods. They’ve also had inquiries from major hospitality chains, he says, who are “interested in how this can change waterfront vacationing and living”—though he can’t currently specify which ones.
For now, this Panamanian SeaPod—accessed through the fishing village of Puerto Lindo, where a floating dock extends out from Linton Bay Marina—is the only one that guests can book, for two-night minimum stays. Others are under construction in the marina, including a deep-sea version that will have an underwater viewing room, as well as the SeaPod Flagship, crafted with a split-level design. The plan for the near future, permits pending, is to move them to a location deeper within the bay to make them feel more remote, says Romundt.
On the last night of my stay, I untie a stand up paddle board tethered to the SeaPod’s dock. Atop water as smooth as glass, I paddle out into the bay, past mangroves where night herons stalk minnows, to a small island covered with the busy silhouettes of ibises in courting mode.
“Living in a SeaPod is like having a glimpse of what life in the future will be like,” Romundt had told me. “Every week there are upgrades and improvements.”
Right here and now already feels pretty magical to me.
De kans dat de aarde met meer dan 1,5 graad opwarmt, wordt steeds groter. Dat is een drama voor de Malediven, waar veel eilanden dan onder water dreigen te verdwijnen door de stijgende zeespiegel. Nederlandse bedrijven werken samen met de lokale overheid aan een drijvende stad, waar 20.000 mensen kunnen wonen. “De stad bestaat uit een netwerk van 5.000 drijvende gebouwen.”
Met sleepboten werd in februari een klein blok met daarop vier kleurrijke gebouwen van de haven in hoofdstad Male naar een plek op het water gesleept. Het is het eerste bouwblok van iets wat uiteindelijk een compleet eiland met winkels, woningen en scholen moet worden.
“Verschillende wooneilandjes zijn verbonden via bruggen. Als je op het drijvende eiland woont, merk je eigenlijk niet dat het drijft. Er zijn zelfs zandwegen, zandstranden en bomen die in grote potten staan”, zegt architect Koen Olthuis van WaterstudioNL.
De stad komt in een lagune te liggen, met daaromheen op de ondiepe lagunerand kleine eilanden, die als golfbrekers fungeren en waar onder meer energievoorzieningen staan.
“De stad is zelfvoorzienend, met zonnepanelen. Van een paar kilometer verderop halen we op 700 meter diepte koud water uit de zee, dat gebruiken we voor koeling van de panden. Verder kunnen we de zeewind gebruiken voor ventilatie.”
Olthuis houdt zich al twintig jaar bezig met drijvende woningen. In 2007 stond hij op plek 122 in de lijst met meest invloedrijke personen van Time Magazine. In Nederland vind je verschillende drijvende woningen van zijn hand, onder meer in Dordrecht, Zeewolde en in Amsterdam.
Waterstudio kreeg de opdracht om een drijvende stad in de Malediven te ontwerpen van de eveneens Nederlandse projectontwikkelaar Dutch Docklands.
Fundering van piepschuim en beton
Olthuis: “Drijvende woningen bouwen is eigenlijk niet moeilijk. De fundering bestaat uit een enorm blok van piepschuim en beton. Dat blok is 2,5 meter dik en daar zitten zaken als elektra en riolering in weggewerkt.”
Onder een aantal pleintjes waar drie straten bij elkaar komen, zitten afmeerpalen die zorgen dat de stad niet wegdrijft.
De Malediven bestaat uit bijna 1200 eilandjes. Die zijn zo plat dat ze hooguit een meter boven de zeespiegel uitkomen. Klimaatwetenschappers vrezen dat aan het einde van de 21e eeuw het land verdwenen is, zonder ingrijpen.
Nu de Wereld Meteorologische Organisatie (WMO) gisteren bekend maakte dat de kans stijgt dat de aarde meer dan 1,5 graad opwarmt, is het alle hens aan dek. Het land vreest de klimaatverandering. Op de 26e VN-klimaatconferentie in 2021 zei de Malediviaanse president Ibrahim Mohammed Solih: “Het verschil tussen anderhalve graad Celsius en twee graden Celsius betekent een doodvonnis voor de Malediven.”
De Malediven bestaat grotendeels uit beschermd natuurgebied. Dat zorgde voor vertraging van het bouwproject, legt Olthuis uit. “We moesten aantonen dat we geen schade aanrichten. Zo’n project is ook compleet nieuw voor de lokale overheid.”
Kunstmatig opgespoten eiland
Diezelfde lokale overheid gaf rond de eeuwwisseling uit angst voor klimaatopwarming wel opdracht voor de bouw van het kunstmatige eiland Hulhumale, gecreëerd door miljoenen kubieke meters zand op te spuiten. Op het eiland ligt een internationaal vliegveld en inmiddels wonen er 92.000 mensen.
Olthuis: “Bij het opspuiten van zo’n eiland, creëer je veel meer schade. Je moet bijna 15 meter zand opspuiten om boven het water uit te komen. Bovendien is Hulhumale eigenlijk te laag opgespoten. Het is niet veel hoger dan de andere eilanden. Als de zeespiegel twee meter stijgt is het weer weg. Bij een drijvend eiland maakt het niet uit hoeveel het water stijgt. Het eiland stijgt gewoon mee. Zelfs een tsunami zou geen invloed moeten hebben.”
Vanaf 250.000 dollar
Op het drijvende eiland staan huurwoningen en koopwoningen, waarbij de prijs bij 250.000 dollar start. Over de bouwkosten kan Olthuis niets zeggen. “‘Maar de totale ontwikkelkosten zijn vergelijkbaar met ontwikkelkosten op land. Voor bouwen op water heb je duurdere drijvende funderingen nodig, maar bouwgrond op land kost meer. Het heft elkaar op.”
Olthuis verwacht dat er veel animo is om in de drijvende stad te gaan wonen. “In Male is eigenlijk geen plek meer. Hele gezinnen wonen daar in één kamer. En de bevolking van de Malediven groeit ook, zo keren er veel Maldivianen terug uit het naburige Sri Lanka.”
Het idee van drijvende steden is niet nieuw. De Azteekse stad Tenochtitlan dreef al. Via een programma van de Verenigde Naties (VN) wordt aan een drijvende stad bij Zuid-Korea gewerkt. De drijvende stad is 75 hectare groot en biedt plaats aan 12.000 inwoners. De stad moet rond 2025 klaar zijn.
Oplossing voor Nederland
Van New York tot Shanghai, wereldwijd kampen steden kampen met dezelfde problemen. Overbevolking en angst voor overstromingen. Drijvende woningen zijn het antwoord op waterspiegelveranderingen, meent Olthuis.
Als het aan hem ligt, komen er in Nederland ook meer drijvende woningen. “We hebben nu een paar honderd drijvende woningen in ons land gebouwd. De markt is nog klein. Dat terwijl er weinig ruimte meer is om op land te bouwen en we ook hier last hebben van de stijging van de zeespiegel.”
‘Drijvende stad op het IJmeer’
Minister De Jonge wil vanaf 2024 100.000 woningen per jaar bouwen om de woningnood te bestrijden, zo staat in plannen die in maart 2022 gepresenteerd zijn. Maar zeker de Randstad is al bomvol.
Olthuis: “Waarom zou je geen drijvende wijk of stad bij het IJmeer tussen Amsterdam en Almere bouwen. Daar is genoeg plek en we hebben de technische kennis. De politiek moet vooruitstrevender denken. En zo’n drijvende stad kun je ook weer afbreken en naar een andere locatie slepen als het moet.”
Seguindo as descobertas de um estudo publicado na revista científica Nature Ecology & Evolution em abril, tornou-se conhecimento público que a ilha artificial de lixo plástico conhecida comoGreat Pacific Garbage Patch (uma área de mais de 1,6 milhões de quilômetros quadrados entre a Califórnia e o Havaí) serve como lar de um ecossistema costeiro inteiro. A vida marinha está usando a enorme área aglomerada de resíduos plásticos humanos como habitat flutuante, e os cientistas ficaram chocados com o número de espécies que conseguiram estabelecer vida nesse ambiente hostil.
A notícia mais uma vez traz à tona não apenas questões urgentes de mudanças climáticas e poluição do oceano, mas também a questão da migração induzida pelo meio ambiente, mesmo em nível microbiano. A arquitetura está se movendo cada vez mais para reinos experimentais quando se trata de considerar locais para as comunidades do nosso futuro. O aumento do nível do mar colocou a água ao topo da lista desses locais. Mas essas deliberações não são tão recentes quanto se poderia pensar: cidades flutuantes existem há séculos e casas na água são comuns em áreas do Benin, Peru ou Iraque, entre outros.
Mergulhamos mais fundo no que a evolução dessas habitações parece e mostramos 5 projetos residenciais de nosso catálogo ArchDaily que exemplificam uma vida inovadora na água.
Ao considerar a construção futura e recém-construída que se inspira em comunidades como a Ma’dan no sul do Iraque ou os Uros no Lago Titicaca do Peru, que têm criado casas a partir de fibras naturais há séculos, a ênfase em materiais locais e também em eficiência energética emerge como dois dos princípios orientadores.
O Estúdio de Arquitetura Marítima Dinamarquês MAST entregou não uma, mas duas propostas para habitats flutuantes no último ano: o projeto ” Land on Water” imagina uma solução para a migração ambiental que assume a forma de residências individuais com fundações flutuantes planas para fácil transporte e montagem; e uma proposta ainda mais recente para um parque público em Milão, Itália, visa abrir um lago construindo uma série de ilhas e píeres que conectam os visitantes ao continente. Materiais leves e obtidos localmente, como a madeira, são essenciais em ambos.
O Bairro Flutuante Schoonship em Amsterdã, no Canal Johan van Hasselt, projetado pelo escritório de arquitetura holandês Space&Matter, amplia a ideia para um grupo de 46 moradias totalmente equipadas com sistemas de energia, água e resíduos descentralizados e sustentáveis, que já serve como lar para mais de 100 residentes. A opção mais recente, e luxuosa, é uma “cápsula viva” flutuante criada pela empresa panamenha Ocean Builders. Em construção ao largo da costa do Panamá agora, com mais locais a seguir, as casas individuais são criadas em pilares que se estendem para fora da água e vêm em duas iterações diferentes criadas pelo arquiteto holandês Koen Olthuis e sua equipe na Waterstudio: o modelo SeaPod, construído para viver na água e o GreenPod, criado para uso na terra. Ambos são projetados para uma vida ecológica com energia solar e sistemas de casa inteligente. Os SeaPods, em particular, também visam atrair a vida aquática e fornecer sombra para o crescimento de novos recifes de coral.
Mas não precisamos olhar tão longe para ver exemplos de vida futurista na água. Mesmo agora, há muitos exemplos de arquitetura aquática moderna estabelecida em todo o mundo. Esses cinco exemplos oferecem uma visão de diferentes abordagens para a casa flutuante.
Semelhante às cápsulas da Ocean Builder em seu estilo futurista, este projeto do estúdio tcheco atelierSAD desafia as noções contemporâneas de casa flutuante ou casa na água. Composto de módulos individuais que se curvam em um formato C contínuo em direção à água, representa uma fusão inteligente de materiais leves de alta tecnologia e naturais. A maior privacidade na doca permite grandes painéis de vidro na extremidade oposta da estrutura, recebendo luz natural e calor, mesmo durante os meses mais frios. Fácil de expandir e rápido de desmontar, as unidades de construção individuais permitem flexibilidade, independentemente da situação em casa que possa ser necessária.
O que há em um nome? Neste caso, muito. Exemplar das casas flutuantes populares em grande parte dos Países Baixos (e incorporadas no DNA do país), este cubo moderno no rio Spaarne de Haarlem, criado por vanOmmeren-architecten, é positivo energeticamente, ou seja, produz mais do que consome. Emprestando-se fortemente do design industrial, a linguagem estilística da barca consiste principalmente em alumínio, vidro, madeira e aço, contrariando seu interior aconchegante. A temperatura é mantida através de painéis fotovoltaicos no telhado, combinados com uma bomba de calor no casco de concreto que coleta energia da diferença de temperatura da água com o interior para criar um fluxo natural de energia sem fim.
Ficamos na Holanda para um projeto que foi convocado pelo Fórum Econômico Mundial de 2022: The Float, do Studio RAP, de Roterdã. Entre as casas mais sustentáveis desta linha, ela usa processos e materiais renováveis, como cortiça e madeira, para ajudar a reduzir as emissões relacionadas à construção do início ao fim. Para evitar a aparência mais aerodinâmica das casas flutuantes tradicionais, os arquitetos escolheram uma estrutura em zigue-zague totalmente realizada em Cross-Laminated-Timber e inteiramente em cortiça respirável. Para adicionar um crédito ecológico extra, a casa é coberta com um telhado verde exuberante em camadas.
Montado em um catamarã flutuante que funciona como um píer privado, o escritório de arquitetura brasileiro SysHaus oferece múltiplas variações de suas lilliHaus prontas. Mais uma vez, seu estilo ecoa linhas modernas e claras feitas de vidro e madeira e o interior possui móveis minimalistas que podem ser entregues junto com a casa. A pegada ecológica da casa é controlada por um inteligente sistema de ventilação natural, bem como por um mecanismo de tratamento e extração de água que se adapta ao ambiente natural. A energia é obtida através de painéis solares e um sistema de bateria embutido, enquanto o consumo é monitorado por meio de tecnologia.
O enigmaticamente nomeado DD16 nos leva mais a leste para Moscou, na Rússia. Os arquitetos da empresa local BIO-architects viram o projeto como um exercício de minimalismo com apenas 16m2 de área total e dois módulos. Muitos dos mesmos materiais foram usados em toda a casa para reduzir o desperdício, como folhas de alumínio compostas tanto para a estrutura externa quanto para a fachada da cozinha. Apesar de seu invólucro compacto e resistente às intempéries, o interior da casa oferece calor e parece maior do que sua pegada graças ao grande vidro. Sistemas autônomos são usados em toda a casa (energia solar para eletricidade, água do lago e um banheiro ecológico) e a fácil montagem por uma pessoa a torna a casa flutuante moderna mais versátil da nossa lista.
At the rate things are going these days, the effects of climate change may show up sooner than we think. Those in territories with land that is below or just slightly above sea level need to consider their options. With experts predicting rising water levels in the years to come, the Maldives Floating City is a clever solution.This is similar to the Oceanix Busan concept we featured before. Waterstudio is coordinating with the Republic of Maldives to come up with this visionary project. For years, researchers have been pointing out that the archipelagic country is one of many that will experience the aftermath of melting polar ice caps.Although there is still a chance to stop climate change, the Maldives Floating City is a remarkable backup plan, nonetheless. The architecture group’s proposal will build hexagonal floating platforms that will interconnect to form an artificial island city in the shape of a brain.Approximately 5,000 low-rise structures will become homes for up to 20,000 locals. Maldives officials are apparently accepting foreigners who want to live in a tropical paradise. The location is a 200-hectare lagoon in the middle of the Indian Ocean.From the capital of Male, tourists can visit the Maldives Floating City by boat. All it takes is a 10-minute ride. The studio states, “this first-of-its-kind island city offers a revolutionary approach to modern sustainable living perched against a backdrop of the azure Indian Ocean.”For now, predictions indicate that if climate change continues, the country will be uninhabitable by the year 2100. Those behind the Maldives Floating City project claim that people can move in by 2024. Are any of you willing to relocate here as well?click here for source websiteClick here for source pdf
A holland Waterstudio – ahogy a neve is mondja – a vízen lebegő épületekre szakosodott, de szerencsére nemcsak olyan megaprojektekkel foglalkozik, mint az elmúlt hónapokban bejelentett hipermodern úszóházak Panama északi partjainál vagy a Maldív-szigetekre tervezett, emberi agyat idéző úszó város.
Szerencsére tehát foglalkoznak kisebb léptékű épületekkel is, mint például az idén év elején átadott úszó színház Lyon 7. kerületében, a Rhône partján, a Gallieni híd és a Leclerc sugárút találkozásánál.
A színházat a L’île O kulturális egyesület számára tervezték, a Patadôme Théâtre d’Irigny támogatásával, elsősorban próbákhoz és a fiatalabb korosztálynak szóló előadásokhoz.
Önmagában is extravagáns a geometrikus burkolati elemekből felépülő külső homlokzat, de talán még meglepőbb, mennyire tágasnak tűnik a nézőtér belülről – legalábbis a fényképek alapján.
A Waterstudio tehát továbbra is aktív, és teljesen biztosak vagyunk abban, hogy találkozunk még a terveikkel, akár a legváratlanabbakkal is.
(CNN) — Floating homes, luxury living and smart home technology aren’t necessarily things that tend to go hand in hand.
But Ocean Builders, a Panama-based company that specializes in innovative marine technology, has just unveiled a fleet of “revolutionary living pods” that manage to bring all three together.
Described as the “world’s first eco-restorative homes,” the pods, which range from around $295,000 to $1.5 million in price, are currently under construction in the Linton Bay Marina on the north coast of Panama.
Designed by Dutch architect Koen Olthuis and his team at Waterstudio, the three models available include flagship model the SeaPod, built for aquatic living, the GreenPod, devised for land use, and the EcoPod, an ecologically and economically friendly option.
A rendering of the Seapod, one of three upcoming pod models from Panama-based company Ocean Builders.
The Seapod was conceptualized by Rüdiger Koch, Head of Engineering at Ocean Builders, along with Chief Executive Officer Grant Romundt, as a solution to the lack of space in popular beach destinations.
The elevated structure provides 833 square feet (73 square meters) of living space, including a master bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom, spread across three and a half levels.
With room for two people, the unit utilizes over 1,688 cubic feet of air-filled steel tubes to float 7.5 feet (2.2 meters) over the waves, and features 575 square feet of panoramic windows and 360-degree ocean views.
Romundt hopes the design will challenge perceptions of homes and travel, as well as allow residents to live on the water without having to make sacrifices when it comes to the “luxuries of modern living.”
“Normally when you live on the water, it’s on a boat, which has a living situation that is unacceptable to most people,” Romundt tells CNN Travel.
“So we’ve designed a home that floats on the water that gives you an experience of living on land, but even more.”
The pods are to be equipped with state-of-the-art technology, along with customizable applications that tailor the design and functionality to suit those inside.
The elevated structure was designed by Dutch architect Koen Olthuis and the Waterstudio team.
Meanwhile, special “smart rings” worn by residents will enable them to unlock doors and switch their music on at the wave of a hand.
“If [technology company] Apple had built a home, I think you would end up with the SeaPod, or the GreenPod, or the EcoPod,” says Romundt. “There’s a lot of technology built into the homes.
“I like to think of it as, instead of having a phone as a digital assistant, your home actually becomes your assistant, and you can use it to optimize your life.”
The pods will initially be located in an area close to the Linton Bay Marina. However, the Ocean Builders team hope to be able to distribute them internationally once they’re confident the technology can be supported elsewhere.
A long-time advocate for oceanfront living, Romundt previously lived in a floating home in Toronto, and says it’s a lifestyle that’s hard to match.
“There’s just something really magical about being able to get up in the morning, walk downstairs, jump on a paddleboard and go for a paddle,” he explains.
The units are currently under construction in Panama, with sales due to launch online later this year.
“It’s very peaceful and beautiful. Most people spend all year dreaming of their two-week vacation where they go to a tropical island, hang out, relax, regenerate and restore themselves.
“So why not just live like that all year round? It’s so easy to be able to work remotely now.”
While those who opt to live in one of these particular units will likely need to have a sense of adventure, as well as a fondness for water, Romundt says the team don’t necessarily have a specific type of customer in mind.
In fact, he’s confident that the majority of those who get to experience the Seapod for just a few minutes will jump at the chance of owning one.
“When I lived in my floating house in Toronto, every single person that came over to visit fell in love with the place,” he says.
“So all I need to do is to get people to step on board a Seapod for five minutes. The experience will just blow your mind. It’s really incredible.”
But what about practicalities such as buying groceries, as well as traveling back and forth from the pod to the mainland?
According to Romundt, customized aerial delivery drones are to be used to deliver items such as food and medicine, as well as “everyday smaller items.”
For larger deliveries, there’s a separate autonomous vessel, which will also function as an ocean recycling vessel, collecting garbage and debris in order to keep the surrounding area clean.
The pods are to be “built and managed in harmony with the surrounding area.”
Residents and visitors can be transported to and from the SeaPod via dinghy boats, jet skis, local water taxis, and/or their own boats or vessels.
And although they certainly seem to be geared towards those with a more minimalist approach, there’s a storage area measuring 1,250 square feet inside.
With a focus on sustainability, the pods have been devised “to benefit the surrounding environment” and provide “a natural habitat for ocean life to occupy and thrive.”
“We’re trying to build and design a home that is good for the environment, and doesn’t harm the environment,” explains Romundt.
“And we’re always trying to innovate and to find ways to do that in an even better way. We’re not perfect right now, but we’re trying to get better and better all the time.”
The first completed pods are to be revealed online in late September, and potential buyers will be able to go and view them for themselves soon after.
“People have been trying to buy them for years,” Romundt says, explaining that the Ocean Builders team decided not to take deposits until buyers could actually see the pods in real life.
Een pod boven zee, daar hebben we toch wat vragen over.
Jachten zijn zó 2021, trendsetters denken al druk na over nieuwe interactie met de zee. Een van hen is de Nederlandse architect Koen Olthuis die voor Ocean Builders SeaPods ontwierp als ‘s werelds eerste ‘eco-restorative floating homes’. Wat heerlijke vaagtaal is voor: ‘Hoe dan?!’
Olthuis ontwierp drie pods: de SeaPod voor leven op het water, de GreenPod voor op het land en de EcoPod als milieuvriendelijk alternatief. Bij die laatste twee kun je je vast wel iets voorstellen, de SeaPod moet iets doen aan de groeiende vraag naar huizen aan de kust #oceanfrontliving
Elke pod, volmaakt voor zelfisolatie in tijden van pandemieën, is zo’n elf meter hoog, bevindt zich zo’n 2,5 meter boven de waterspiegel en is goed beschouwd een enorme dobber.
Hij biedt zo’n 44 vierkante meter woonruimte op drie halve etages, dit is de ‘water patio’. Verder heb je een slaapkamer, een woonkamer…
… een keuken, een badkamer (wc-papier behoort tot het verleden, je spoelt je schoon, de grote boodschap wordt verbrandt en met die warmte wordt weer water verwarmd – alles is op duurzaamheid gericht) en een opslagruimte.
De eigenaar krijgt een smartring om de high techy-tech mee te bedienen, drones leveren boodschappen af.
In de douche (het is meer een compacte, complete spa) zit een klimwand om mee op het dak te komen, je dient dus wel behoorlijk fit te zijn om je boodschappen op te pikken.
De ontwerpers noemen dit ‘a fun and unique way to get to the roof’. Misschien dat de drone ook op het plateau beneden kan landen, voor wie niet klautervaardig is? Plus: hoe kom je met die doos beneden als je je handen nodig hebt op die klimwand? Zo. Veel. Vragen!
Hoewel de pods op de meeste tekeningen in zee liggen, zie je op andere schetsen onderaan toch een klein plateau om op te kunnen stappen voor je de trap naar boven neemt door de schacht. Hoe je er komt is ook niet duidelijk, vermoedelijk met een e-tender, al dan niet zelfvarend.
De onderkant biedt ‘een natuurlijke habitat voor het zeeleven’. De pods – ze worden gebouwd in Panama – zijn vanaf september te koop vanaf 295.000 dollar tot 1,5 miljoen dollar.
Het is een prachtig concept, maar niet duidelijk is hoe de megadobber zich houdt in zwaar weer. De stabiliteit wordt aangeprezen, maar je kunt je voorstellen dat de champagne uit je glas klotst bij een flinke storm. Plus: moet ie niet op een of andere manier geankerd worden, om te voorkomen die ie wegdrijft? En werkt het systeem ook nog als de onderkant onder de algen, kokkels en mosselen zit?
Ook niet helemaal duidelijk is wie dit soort dingen voor de kust zou willen hebben: mensen steigeren al over windparken op zee die amper te zien zijn vanaf de wal – wil je echt het collectieve uitzicht over zee verbreken met een paar bewoonde dobbers? Hoe dan ook: binnenkort vast te bewonderen, voor een rijke enclave ergens ter wereld. En kudos voor Koen, voor deze nieuwe Nederlandse kijk op leven met/op het water!
The SeaPods come with a luxe three-story interior that can be controlled by a smart ring.
These Floating Homes Are a Luxe Eco-Friendly Residence on the Sea
The life aquatic is now looking even more appealing thanks to Ocean Builders.
The Panama-based company, which specializes in innovative marine technology, has just unveiled a new fleet of pods homes designed for life on the ocean. The singular abodes pair quality craftsmanship with the latest green tech to ensure you can live both comfortably and sustainably on the seas.
The range includes three models that were each penned by Dutch architect Koen Olthius. The SeaPod is built for aquatic living, the GreenPod is engineered for the land and the EcoPod is the environmentally friendly option. Billed as the world’s first eco-restorative floating home, the SeaPod was designed to address the lack of space in desirable seaside destinations.
The interior of the EcoPod.
“Every day thousands of people all over the world move closer to the top 15 major metropolitan cities which are within 50 miles of a coastline—a trend that will continue to grow,” Ocean Builders CEO Grant Romundt said in a statement.
Essentially, the elevated offshore structures give travelers and residents alike a chance to live on the water in the lap of luxury. Each pod sits nearly eight feet above the waves and offers 830 square feet of living space. The interior, which is spread across three levels, comprises a primary bedroom, a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom and a large storage space. Each home is also equipped with 575 square feet of panoramic windows and a patio for unobstructed ocean views.
These are smart pods, too. Special software allows residents to control everything from the lighting and temperature to shower heat and water pressure. Each pod also comes with a wearable smart ring for the owner. With a simple wave of the hand, you can unlock doors, turn on music and more.
If that’s not futuristic enough, a fleet of drones will be used to drop food, medicine and everyday items to the pods, while larger autonomous vessels will carry out bigger deliveries like furniture and luggage. There will also be another self-sailing vessel to collect trash and clean up the area.
A drone dropping a delivery to an EcoPod. Ocean Builders
As for the eco-restorative part, Ocean Builders says it has developed a way to create a natural habitat for ocean life underneath each home. In turn, this will help create thriving underwater ecosystems.
“We’ve been motivated by the opportunity to change and challenge the traditional real estate and tourism models and create first-in-class living experiences that can give back to our ocean environment,” Romundt adds.
The pods are currently manufactured in Panama and will be located there for the first year. Eventually, the pods will be shipped elsewhere. Available to order from September, the floating homes start at roughly $295,000 and can go up to $1.5 million based on upgrades and customization. Ocean Builders claims it will have the first 100 custom pods either in production or delivered by the end of 2023. It also says the second rollout of 1,000 pods will begin in 2024.
Bring on the life aquatic.
Click here to see all the photos of the SeaPod and EcoPod.
With world’s population continuing to increase and climate change drastically affecting our environment, many metropolises are struggling to grow, develop and even support citizens within current and traditional urban designs.
Governments, entrepreneurs and technology companies are employing some of the world’s leading architects and designers to rethink the idea of cities, how people can interact and how to live within them.
From reclaimed land, groundbreaking skyscrapers in the desert and cities rising in the metaverse, here are 12 incredible futuristic cities redefining the urban spaces we live in.
The Mirror Line, Saudi Arabia
Designers: Morphosis Architects
Location: Saudi Arabia
The $500 billion Neom project in Saudi Arabia is set to be home to a record-setting 170-kilometre-long skyscraper called the Mirror Line.
It will be the world’s largest structure, comprising of two buildings up to 490 metres tall, running parallel to each other. The structures will be connected by walkways and a high-speed transport system, which will connect one end of the city to the other in 20 minutes.
Designed by the US-based Morphosis Architects, The Mirror Line promises to be walkable city, with no cars and zero carbon emissions.
Designers: Bjarke Ingels Group
Location: Penang Island, Malaysia
BiodiverCity is a planned sustainable city made of three artificial islands built off the shore of Penang Island in Malaysia.
A city where people and nature co-exist, each of BiodiverCity’s lily pad-shaped islands will be home to between 15,000 and 18,000 residents. Structures in the city will be built using natural materials such as timber, bamboo and concrete created from recycled materials.
The city is also planned to be a global travel destination with 4.6km of public beaches and 600 acres of parks along with a 25km waterfront. BiodiverCity will also be a car-free environment, where pedestrians can use the planned autonomous water, air and land public transportation network.
Chengdu Future City, China
China’s planned Chengdu Future City is challenging conventions of urban planning by proposing a master plan not based on traditional, car-oriented road networks.
The six distinct zones of the city will be connected though a smart mobility network using automated vehicles. The zones will also be pedestrian-friendly and within a 10-minute walk of each other.
The 4.6-square-kilometre site also includes an international education park where buildings, including a university, will have landscaped terraces, designed to be an extension of the natural formed landscape.
Akon City, Senegal
Designers: Bakri & Associates Development Consultants
Akon City is a planned 2,000-acre futuristic city that will be located along the Atlantic coast, in south of Dakar, Senegal.
Conceived and launched by singer and entrepreneur Akon, the smart city will be eco-friendly and powered by renewable energy. Described by Akon as a “real-life Wakanda”, a reference to the film Black Panther that inspired him, Akon City is set to have large skyscrapers, shopping malls, parks, universities, a stadium and a technology hub.
Akon City’s goal is to stimulate the local economy and create jobs while using the latest technologies of blockchain and cryptocurrency.
Telosa, the US
Designers: Bjarke Ingels
Location: The US
Announced in September 2021, Telosa is a proposed city conceived by billionaire Marc Lore, to be built somewhere in the US western desert.
With a planned population of five million people by 2050, Telosa will be a “15-minute city” where all amenities from schools, workplaces and goods and services will be a 15-minute commute from residents’ homes.
Lore hopes Telosa will be the most sustainable city in the world where no vehicles powered by fossil fuels will be permitted. His vision also includes a reformed version of capitalism where wealth is created in a fair way, keeping residents’ quality of life as a priority.
Woven City, Japan
Designers: Bjarke Ingels Group
Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, has already started construction on a 175-acre smart city at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan.
Woven City will be one of the world’s first smart cities: a fully autonomous community designed to test new technologies such as automated driving, robotics and artificial intelligence in a real-world environment.
The city will be fully sustainable, powered by hydrogen fuel cells where pedestrian streets will intersect with those dedicated to self-driving cars. Wood will be the primary material for building to reduce carbon footprint and rooftops will be covered in photo-voltaic panels to generate solar power.
Over the next five years, there will be a starting population of 360 residents with plans to grow the number of residents over the coming years. Initially they will be inventors, senior citizens and young families who will test and develop smart technologies.
New Administrative Capital, Egypt
Designers: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Capital City is part of a larger initiative for Egypt’s 2030 Vision. The yet-to-be-named new capital city, located 45 kilometres east of Cairo, will be home to up to seven million people.
The privately funded project will cover 700 square kilometres and include 21 residential districts and 25 dedicated districts, 1,250 mosques and churches, solar energy farms and one of the world’s largest urban parks.
The Cairo Light Rail Transit, inaugurated last month, will connect Cairo to the New Administrative Capital. One of the main drivers for the construction was to ease congestion in Cairo, which has a population of more than 10 million people and is continuing to grow.
Liberland, the metaverse
Designers: Zaha Hadid
Location: The metaverse
As the metaverse continues to inform how we could interact and occupy the digital realm, it’s also challenging how we view the idea of cities and nations.
British architecture firm Zaha Hadid, in collaboration with the micronation of Liberland and ArchAgenda, is creating a “cyber-urban” city in the metaverse named Liberland Metaverse.
The completely virtual city is based on the Free Republic of Liberland — a micronation claimed by Czech politician Vit Jedlicka, which exists in the disputed land between Croatia and Serbia.
Liberland Metaverse will act as a virtual industry synergy and networking hub for crypto projects, crypto companies and crypto events. People will be able to buy plots of land with cryptocurrency and enter digital buildings as avatars.
Floating City, Maldives
Maldives Floating City will be a car-free zone.
One of the first floating cities in the world is being built in the Maldives in response to rising sea levels. With climate change threatening to change many cities around the world, 80 per cent of the Maldives is expected to be uninhabitable by 2050.
Maldives Floating City is currently being designed to home 20,000 people as soon as 2024.
The project is being designed to be climate resistant and work with the rising sea levels. The eco-friendly development will include 5,000 low-rise floating homes built on hexagonal structures that rise with the sea.
Designers: Foster + Partners
The city of Amaravati will be the new administrative capital of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh in south-eastern India.
Situated on the banks of the River Krishna, Amaravati’s structure will be defined by a strong urban grid inspired by Lutyens’ Delhi and Central Park in New York.
Greenery and water will make up at least 60 per cent of the city with the aim of making Amaravati one of the most sustainable cities in the world, complete with the latest technologies such as conversion of light into electricity through the use of photovoltaics.
The transportation will include electric vehicles, water taxis and dedicated cycle routes with numerous pedestrian-friendly routes such as shaded streets and squares.
Designers: Urban + practice
Indonesia plans to move its capital Jakarta to East Kalimantan, between North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara on the Indonesian part of Borneo island.
Nusantara, the new capital, is planned to be a sustainable city where high-rise structures will utilise 100 per cent eco-friendly construction and use entirely renewable energy. However, environmental groups have been vocal about how Nusantara’s construction could cause damage to one of the world’s oldest rainforests.
The cost of moving the capital is estimated to cost $35 billion and is seen as a necessary step for Indonesia’s future. Building Nusantara will help with the economic growth of Indonesia and ease pressures on Jakarta, which suffers from continuous traffic jams and issues with pollution owing to a population of more than 10 million people.
Net City, China
Designers: NBBJ Design Firm
China’s answer to Google, technology firm Tencent is building a city. The 22-million-square-foot urban development named Net City will be built on reclaimed land and will be designed to accommodate a population of 80,000 people.
The planned layout of Net City is designed to reduce traffic by including roads for buses, bikes and automated vehicles.
Net City is planned to be sustainable with rooftop solar panels and advanced technological systems for reusing wastewater.
Global issues such as the housing crisis and climate change are galvanising ambitions for a new generation of high-tech cities.The Line, a 500-metre-tall skyscraper that will house nine million people in northwestern Saudi Arabia, as shown in this video, is the most recent example but not the only one.
BIG, Foster + Partners and OMA are among multiple architecture studios helping to masterplan futuristic urban centres, which often claim to be designed with a focus on sustainability.
Below are 10 ambitious cities set to be built in the coming decades:
The Saudi Arabian government this week unveiled visuals for a 170-kilometre-long, 500-metre-tall linear city planned as part of the Neom mega-development.
Despite its length and expected population of nine million, The Line will be just 200 metres wide with a transport system promised to connect the two ends within 20 minutes.
The city was designed as an alternative to the traditional circular urban layout, with Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman touting it as “a model for nature preservation and enhanced human livability”.
Set on the banks of the River Krishna, the city of Amaravati will act as the new capital for the Andhra Pradesh state in India.
It will be arranged around a needle-topped government building and see more than 60 per cent of its central district occupied by greenery or water.
“The design brings together our decades-long research into sustainable cities, incorporating the latest technologies that are currently being developed in India,” said Foster + Partners, which is also master planning large neighbourhoods in Ho Chi Minh and Bangkok.
Italian architect Stefano Boeri is working on plans for a forested smart city near Cancun that will contain 7.5 million carbon-absorbing plants and trees across its 557 hectares.
It will be designed to house 130,000 people in affordable, plant-covered homes and aims to pioneer a more sustainable way of city living.
“Smart Forest City Cancun is a botanical garden within a contemporary city, based on Mayan heritage and in its relationship with the natural and sacred world,” said Boeri’s studio. “An urban ecosystem where nature and city are intertwined and act as one organism.”
The Orbit is another planned smart city, intended to transform a Canadian farming town through extensive use of fibre optics, drones and autonomous vehicles, with development decisions based on big data.
Toronto firm Partisans has described its design as a modern version of the garden city movement that emerged in the UK in the early 20th century.
It aims to balance new technologies with the existing agrarian setting while growing the town from 30,000 to 150,000 residents.
Rising sea levels due to climate change mean much of The Maldives is expected to be uninhabitable by 2050. In response, the country’s government has partnered with architecture practice Waterstudio to design a floating city that will house 20,000 people in a lagoon near its capital as soon as 2024.
Billed by the architects as “the world’s first true floating island city”, it will include 5,000 low-rise floating homes and be built on a series of hexagonal structures that rise with the sea.
Dutch architecture firm OMA has produced a car-free masterplan for the capital of China’s Sichuan province that it claims challenges conventional urban planning models that are driven by road networks or maximising gross floor area.
Set to occupy a 4.6 square kilometre site, Chengdu Future City will instead focus on the land’s rolling topography, with six distinct zones designed to blend in with the surrounding landscape.
All buildings within each zone will be accessible by foot within 10 minutes, while a “smart mobility network” utilising automated vehicles will connect the city to the rest of Chengdu.
Cryptocurrency magnate Jeffrey Berns plans to develop part of Nevada‘s desert into a smart city powered by blockchain technology.
With the help of architecture studios Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects and Tom Wiscombe Architecture, he intends to transform the 27,113-hectare plot into a community where people can bank, vote and store data without involvement from governments or third parties.