It looks like something straight out of Waterworld, but maybe a little easier to take seriously.
The Shimizu Corporation, a Japanese architectural firm, has released conceptual images of an underwater city anchored to the bottom of the deep sea. The design boasts laboratories, factories, a deep-sea mine and a 500-meter (in diameter) living zone that rests just at sea level.
The design claims to make the city at least partially self-sustaining, with aquaculture stocks providing food, desalinization plants providing fresh, drinkable water and thermal conversion plants providing electrical power. Carbon pollution generated by the city would be sent to the ocean floor to be converted into methane gas by microorganisms. There's even a "deep sea gondola plaza" and facilities for monitoring mysterious oceanic creatures.
Take a gander at some elements of the design below:
There's also an artist's rendering of what life in the giant sphere might look like:
The firm also included technical explanations purporting to show just how Shimizu Corp. and investors could build this modern-day Atlantis without it springing catastrophic leaks, detaching from the seafloor, running out of oxygen or imploding under water pressure.
According to Fast Company, "The company believes it's feasible and has been working on the details with experts from Japanese universities and national agencies." The entire project would cost at least $26 billion, would provide permanent housing for about 5,000 residents and could apparently be constructed by 2035. Shimizu has also attracted the attention of the 3-D printing community by speculating that the city's construction would only be feasible using onsite 3-D printers.
There's nothing to say that cities like these couldn't be constructed one day in the distant future, permanently extending mankind's reach to the formerly inaccessible depths of the oceans. But the technology to build such structures really doesn't exist yet, leaving Shimizu's concept a Bioshock-style fantasy. Still, a species can dream, right?
h/t Huffington Post