An Underwater City With Farming, Energy Generation & Hotels
PUBLISHED IN CLADMAG 2019 ISSUE 1
When what’s being billed as the ‘world’s largest underwater restaurant’ opens its doors this year, it will also be one of the most unusual. That’s because Snøhetta-designed Under won’t be welcoming guests with the tropical climes and fantastical seascapes of the Indian Ocean, but the rugged coastline of Lindesnes in Norway. Indeed, it’s the sea fauna and landscape of south Norway that Under is designed to celebrate. “In the beginning we spent a lot of time with designs that were too complicated, but we ended up doing things in a much simpler way. The building is a concrete tube that brings people from the land down to the sea and it’s a perfect harmony of the physical – the food – and the intellectual – the understanding and visualization of marine life at Norway’s southernmost tip. Architecture is the key that brings these elements together.” The building itself will cover 600 sq m, weigh in at 1,500-2,000 tons and, at the restaurant level, sit five metres below the surface of the water. A slightly curved shape allows the volume to better handle the pressure of the water and the impact of the waves. It is designed to become a part of the marine environment, with the coarse concrete shell an ideal surface for mussels to cling onto. The building will become an artificial mussel reef, with the added benefit of the mussels purifying the seawater, thereby attracting more marine wildlife and giving guests a better view outside the restaurant. Under will function as a research center for marine life. As unique as Under may be, it’s by no means the only restaurant of its kind. Claimed as the world’s first, Ithaa Undersea Restaurant at the Conrad Maldives resort opened in 2005. The natural progression from underwater eating is, of course, to underwater sleeping. Part of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort along with the Ithaa restaurant, the Muraka opened its doors in November 2018 and is said to be the first of its kind in the world. Needless to say, where there’s extravagant innovation, there’s Dubai. Specifically, the Atlantis Dubai, where guests can stay in 165-sq m underwater suites, the floor-to-ceiling windows of which provide close-up views of all manner of sea-creature. The suites are part of the Ambassador Lagoon aquarium, bringing 65,000 marine inhabitants to its guests, rather than taking its guests to the ocean. Finally, and most imaginative of all, is the Ocean Spiral. The design explores an idea for an underwater city of the future. Combining accommodation, farming, power generation and gondola transport, the concept imagines making use of the ocean’s potential for provision of food and water, energy generation, CO2 processing and resource harvesting.
Copyright © 2019 EcoChi, LLC. All rights reserved.