This water resort proposed for Qatar is a unique mix of floating homes and artificial islands, and is a project that exemplifies both the best and worst in 21st century development. Designed by the Giancarlo Zema Design Group, this new design anchors itself with a series of hotels set on artificial islands. However, after the hapless sinking of Dubai's artificial archipelago, The World, it’s hard to imagine projects like this passing the grade on sustainable development -- if they are possible at all.
The project is anchored by an artificial oval island, where sculpted resort towers connect to an underwater hall that provides fascinating views of the sea world. Jetties feed 80 floating houses called “Jelly-fish”, which feature an underwater viewing room in the belly. Guests move about in electric vehicles or on the water in yachts that burn clean hydrogen, and a series of underwater halls give visitors an intimate experience of the sea from below.
The design is made to celebrate the natural world, but as fill projects have a history of financial and environmental problems, we are a bit dubious of the concept.
Many of the world’s greatest cities now sit on land that was artificially created– think of a swampy New York, San Francisco’s downtown in the bay, and large swaths of Hong Kong’s coast. And as technology evolved so did the resolve to build bigger – but not always better. The famous Kansai Airport in Japan is the largest artificial island, and relives congested cities of air and noise pollution, but the island has been sinking at a much greater rate than estimated and the project is a financial boondoggle. Dubai took it even further by attempting to build entire communities out of energy intensive artificial islands, only to see the scheme sink back into the ocean.
As the world’s oceans are rising faster than predicted, the most unlikely place to pitch tent would seem to be a few feet above sea leavel on sinking land.