Aequorea is the name of Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut’s latest proposal, which envisions a future city of innovative ocean buildings built entirely out of 3D-printed plastic waste. Extending to depths of nearly 1,000 meters below the sea surface, this fictitious water city is situated off the coast of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
Described as “an oceanscraper printed in 3D from the seventh continent’s garbage”, Aequorea, named after a bioluminescent jellyfish species called aequorea victoria, addresses the ongoing depletion of land-based natural resources, while also highlighting the need to stop and reverse marine pollution. Developed as one in a series of futuristic concepts aimed at spreading environmental awareness, the project draws people’s attention to the reckless practice of dumping plastic waste and other harmful materials into our oceans.
The proposal takes the form of a letter written by a fictional “aquanaut”, living in Aequorea. Date December 24, 2065, the letter appeals fervently to the “people of the land” to protect the environment against degradation. It even accusses our current population for being negligent, and “mortgaging the fate of future generations”. Full of ominous warnings and impassioned plea, the letter reads as follows:
When my grandfather tells me about his terrestrial way of life of the time, it seems totally preposterous today. They were consuming the city like a commodity rather than a common good that should be nurtured in symbiosis with nature.. Never forget this: oceans produce 50 per cent of our planet’s oxygen. They are the most active lung! Well worth the trouble of cleaning to re-enchant our living together, don’t you think?
Accessible via special dome-shaped marines, measuring around 500 m in diameter, the underwater habitat would feature buildings made from algoplast, a yet-to-be-invented composite material fashioned using algae and plastic rubbish. With the help of highly-advanced technology, the repurposed waste material would be 3D-printed, in order to construct some 1,000 towers. The complex, housing nearly 20,000 aquanauts, would run entirely on renewable energy, thus eliminating the need for environmentally-harmful fossil fuels.
What is more, the citizens would be able to breathe underwater using special gill masks, and would feed on algae, mollusks and plankton. Fruit and vegetable gardens, growing on top of the buildings, would also provide food for the people to consume. This wholesome, self-sufficient community would also undertake research on oceanic organisms, which, as Callebaut envisages, would lead to the development of treatments for heart disease, cancer and AIDS.
To know more about Vincent Callebaut and his various projects, click here.