Dec 28, 2015 | By Tess

Climate change is undoubtedly one of the most pressing issues of our times, with pollution and greenhouses gasses contributing to a global warming phenomenon that could affect us all. If our current lifestyles are becoming unsustainable in the face of this growing concern, alternative lifestyles are being proposed which aim for the lowest carbon footprint possible. Recently, Belgian architect and visionary Vincent Callebaut suggested a new urban design concept that emphasizes sustainability and puts a particular focus on the treatment of our oceans.

In short, Callebaut has created the plans for an oceanic city that could maybe one day be realized. The futuristic and fictional city that Callebaut designed is called Aequorea, and was named after Aequorea Victoria, a type of bioluminescent jellyfish that the city’s structures also vaguely resemble.

The city’s design is made up of conch shaped buildings constructed out of 3D printed plastic waste that emerge from the ocean and that extend 1,000 meters below the ocean’s surface. Callebaut has himself described the project as “an oceanscraper printed in 3D from the seventh continent’s garbage,” which references the island of garbage in the ocean created by humans. The project, in using plastic waste in its design is meant to highlight the crucial importance of keeping the world’s oceans clean and waste-free.

Callebaut has placed the ocean city of Aequorea off the coast of Rio de Janeiro and has even created a fictional, though plausible, timeline of future events that led to its creation. The story of Aequorea is introduced in a fictional letter written by a 15 year old citizen of Aequorea named Oceane, which is dated the 24th of December 2065 and is addressed to the “people of the land”. In the letter, Oceane recounts how his grandfather has told him of his terrestrial way of life and condemns our current generation for its careless treatment of the earth and its resources.

“When my grandfather tells me about his terrestrial way of life of the time, it seems totally preposterous today. The People of the Land, those supposedly, self-proclaimed Homo Sapiens, took two centuries to understand that they were living on finite territory with limited natural resources. They were consuming the city like a commodity, rather than a common good that should be nurtured in symbiosis with nature. They were suffocating from inhaling urban smogs, the infamous photochemical clouds caused by pollution…”

The letter goes on to explain that Aequorea was created through a joint effort of “The People of the Sea”, or those who lost their homes to the rising ocean levels, and environmental NGOs, in an effort to create an environmentally sound dwelling for human communities.

“Each Aequorea village can welcome up to 20,000 aquanauts,” explains the letter. “Their main access is on the water surface, through four marinas covered with a mangrove rooted on a floating dome 500 meters in diameter.”

The structures and buildings of Aequorea would be constructed from a composite material made from algae and plastic garbage fittingly called algoplast, which would be 3D printed in order to create the city’s towers where residents could reside.

Callebaut’s Aequorea project is the most recent in his series of environmentally sustainable conceptual projects which include a seaweed powered transport system as well as “farmscrapers” or buildings covered in plants. Callebaut created Aequorea to emphasize just how important the earth’s oceans are to us, and how we can begin to use them constructively rather than destructively by using 3D printing technology. As Oceane, the fictional resident of Aequorea factually points out, “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?”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Brian Adams wrote at 3/24/2016 12:27:47 PM:

all arrchitects creative thoughts are projections for the future,they may by the time it's built have many new materials and further positive ideas.

kb wrote at 1/1/2016 6:21:26 PM:

@Thorbjørn So the ocean should remain a massive garbage for you? We'll see what happens after years of eating fish fed with bisphenol A, PCBs, and derivatives of polystyrene...

Thorbjørn wrote at 12/30/2015 12:17:46 AM:

One thought that comes to mind, from where is he going to get the plastic? Many plastics are food, just food that we can’t eat (just like we can’t eat straw and wood). For example, polyethylene and polypropylene are merely different combinations of hydrogen and carbon and, unless contaminated, nothing more. Break it up small enough through the natural actions of sun and waves, and the bacteria use it for food. See This is not a call that we shouldn’t care about pollution, far from it, rather it’s to point out that this architect will have to look elsewhere for his plastic.

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