Gallery: Underwater Skyscraper is a Self-Sufficient City at Sea


Ocean levels are rising around the globe, so rather than tethering our buildings to the sinking shoreline why not suit them for a life at sea? That’s the approach behind the Water-Scraper, a futuristic self-sufficient floating city. A special mention in the eVolo Skyscraper Competition, the design expands the concept of a floating island into a full-fledged underwater skyscraper that harvests renewable energy and grows its own food.

Touted as a self-sufficent floating city, Sarly Adre Bin Sarkum’s Water-Scraper utilizes a variety of green technologies. It generates its own electricity using wave, wind, and solar power and it produces its own food through farming, aquaculture, and hydroponic techniques. The surface of the submerged skyscraper sustains a small forest, while the lower levels contain spaces for its inhabitants to live and work. The building is kept upright using a system of ballasts aided by a set of squid-like tentacles that generate kinetic energy.

The architects “envision a future where land as a resource will be scarce; it is only natural progression that we create our own. Approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface is ocean, even more if climate change has its way, hence it is only natural progression that we will populate the seas someday.” As anyone who has seen Waterworld will attest, it’s a grim future indeed — which is why it’s essential that we do what we can to stem the course of the world’s rising tides.

+ Water-Scraper

+ eVolo 2010 Skyscraper Competition


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  1. Steve Silverstone April 12, 2014 at 11:30 pm


    How does it handle sea storms, tsunamis and huge waves?

  2. maninga July 18, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    wonder what its effect on marine life would be.

  3. Kaivon June 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    It would be really great if they extracted Hydrogen directly from the sea to fuel their tower. It could be one of their main exports. I was worried people would get sea-sick, but with those tendrils absorbing kinetic energy, it would actually be pretty stable I think. these guys could run maintenance 😀

  4. DemiserofD June 23, 2012 at 2:51 am


    Skyscrapers already have lighting available 100% of the time.

    Skyscrapers already need ventilation systems to keep them oxygenized, 100% of the time.

    Drinking water can easily be obtained via reverse-osmosis, which only takes energy to run.

    Food can be supplied via vertical hydroponic farms that could actually exist inside the walls of the skyscraper. Alternatively, floating side-along buildings could contain them. One major plus of this is that it could become 100% automated.

    We’re talking about a future where there is not enough land mass to support the population, I think we’d be happy for what trees we’ve got.

    Your ‘problems’ are insignifcant; think of real ones please.

  5. edcrosby August 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Mike, we have have a patented technology which generates unlimited power and could provide not only energy but revenue for your city at sea concept. We are currently in planning for our first project to be located in the Pacific 300 miles of the coast of Washington and Oregon. This make sense as a renewable energy source and due to the distance from shore will require building a full time community at sea:

  6. brak June 11, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    It is a novel solution, or at least a starting point. There are several practical areas to note, some have been listed above.

    Permanent lighting required for any decks below 30m
    Ventilation of submerged portion
    Area available for oxygen production/agriculture/farming
    Waste products of Humans and livestock
    Pressure against the hulls on the lower portions
    Corrosion from salt water/sea air
    Increase in atmospheric pressure on lower decks
    Protecting the top section during sever storms – Hurricanes
    Increasing the sea levels further from water displacement

    Those were off the top of my head, I’m sure someone with a background in civil engineering could list more. Still not a bad take on a solution, but without thought into the possible problems it’s just fantasy.

  7. caeman February 16, 2011 at 9:12 am

    This is the perfect solution to over-crowded prisons. Prisons require too much land to keep security. A vast ocean would be a much better security fence.

  8. vibenade January 5, 2011 at 12:34 am

    I rather see this as an optimistic approach to the future of sustainable city. Its been a while since archigram did it! Plus to solve everything in an A1 size board is almost impossible.

    Chillax~ its only an idea competition. Why so serious?

  9. Hazique 15 January 1, 2011 at 9:02 am

    yes, this thing might be cool.. but as mvbarq says, there are more negative effects.. tsunami may explain
    and are those buildings float?

  10. mvbarq October 26, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    I think the idea has no sense because of its lack of consistance. 30 meters under the sea level there is no sunlight so you need 24h of artificial light. Is it efficient?
    How do you solve the natural air ventilation and oxigen supply? How do you solve the garbage that humans produce everyday?
    How do you solve the drinking water supply if you live in the middle of the ocean?
    How do you solve the food supply? I mean, Where do you locate a farm with cows, sheets, pigs and chickens?
    A few trees on the roof of the project means nothing. Any park have more trees and green spaces than the space you have in there.
    Please, if you have a ‘cool idea’, think about the consecuences and solve them. I do not believe in anything that has no innovative solution for any of the things the project was aimed.

  11. ash July 29, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    What scares me a tiny bit, but not to the point of insanity is this. That if his was created the only people who would be going to this is and surviving would be therich people and everyone else would probably be stuck on a land this getting smaller and smaller everday.

    On a lighter side Kevin Costner will have gils 😀

  12. LeSuperbe July 17, 2010 at 1:30 am

    It will never exist… Sadly, maybe.

  13. Collinista May 27, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    I don’t know if the artist or designer has ever been scuba diving before, but it doesn’t look like they’re aware of the fact that once you get down past 20 feet or so it starts getting dark really fast. If this thing is roughly as deep as the Empire State Building is tall, it’s gonna be permanent night basically at the bottom.

  14. bugmenot March 16, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Those birds must have a wingspan of 100 meters. And the diver… OMG and how big are the sharks?

  15. M_D March 11, 2010 at 4:32 am

    one step closer to real-life bioshock, lol.

  16. The Mighty Llama March 10, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    You’ve got to be kidding me.

    The sea would chew this thing up and spit it out in tiny little pieces.

  17. taylen24 March 9, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    cool idea and i like the self-sustainable part, but what about the affect it will have on the eco-system in the water? it will be messing with the habitat of the sea and causing a serious lack of sunlight below and around these places possibly ruining both plants and sea creatures’ homes

  18. Saraceno1979 March 9, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    I hope this design would be in a list of things to do when we face the danger of rising ocean surface so people would find alternative ways of living.
    I hope it is not one more “green idea” of “buying a home for the weekend” because I am rich, if you know what I mean.

  19. inannamouse March 9, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Now, if they were really genius, they’d use the Great Pacific Garbage Patch for their materials!

  20. hilal.rashid March 9, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Great idea… this would be real cool in our region, the land of Sun.

    Save on a lot and using nature to harness energy and food and enjoy both sides of planet Earth.

  21. dionysus March 9, 2010 at 10:53 am

    nice idea…but those sure look like coffins tethered to the end of the “tentacles”….

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