Can you imagine living in a high-rise apartment building where the 360 degree views are of fishes and saltwater? Although just a concept now, this upside-down, underwater eco-skyscraper could be the future of building, especially if sea levels rise as predicted and we end up living in a water world. Designed by Victoria BC-based firm Zigloo, the Gyre is a floating eco-development meant to be both a research station as well as an off-shore resort with shops, restaurants, gardens and recreation. Powered completely by the sun, wind and ocean, the Gyre would offer a zero emissions stay for both tourists and researchers hoping to gain a better understanding of the ocean’s ecosystem.
The Gyre is essentially an inverted underwater skyscraper, diving down to a depth of 400 m (1,312 ft) and would be about the same height as the Empire State Building. Four arms extend from the center spire (1.25 km in diameter) and act to buoy the structure as well as create a safe inner harbor and port large enough to accommodate the world’s most titanic ships. The center tower starts off at 30,000 sq meters of space and each floor down gets progressively smaller, down to 600 sq meters. The total floor area of the entire structure is 212,000 sq.meters, or roughly 40 football fields.
Powered completely by renewable energy, the Gyre is an off-grid, zero emissions development. Vertical wind turbines would be mounted on the top of the radial arms, collecting wind off the ocean. Semi-transparent solar windows would be used as glazing on the entire structure and then solar panels would be used as shading on the pedestrian walkways up on top. Underwater turbines would generate power from water currents when anchored, and then they would act as thrusters for propulsion for when the Gyre was in motion. Additionally, rainwater would be harvested in the central vortex and collected into storage tanks at the bottom of the spire.