Aquatic architecture tends to be pretty creative, so I’ve come across some truly weird ideas while writing for this blog. Today, I think I may have just found the weirdest one of all.
French architectural group X-TU has come with a floating city idea known as X SEA TY (where do they come up with these names?). X SEA TY goes pretty heavily into crazy territory, so hold onto your butt.
First off, the whole structure is a floating city. I don’t mean a single floating building or a network of floating buildings that are near each other, I mean a whole floating island that holds skyscrapers and thousands of inhabitants. Basically, imagine what it would be like if a hefty chunk of inner New York City broke off from the mainland and floated into the Atlantic.
On top of that, each of the buildings on X SEA TY would be built out of hexagon-like blocks and arranged in a beehive structure. This would enable the inhabitants to take apart or reassemble their buildings however they like, kind of like a gigantic version of Legos.
Perhaps the weirdest thing of all is that all surfaces on the island would be made out of a porous concrete that promotes the growth of carbon-sucking algae, turning the whole city green — and not a pretty leaf green, either, more like a yellowish pond-scum green. Not only would this algae suck up most of the city’s CO2 emissions, but it would also create an oily byproduct that could be used to create biofuels and plastics. In theory, these features should enable X SEA TY to be entirely self-sufficient.
I’ve covered dozens of floating architectural designs, and many of them have trouble tackling the rather serious question of resources. It’s certainly cool to have a floating island, building, or city, but if you don’t have a way to supply its inhabitants with food and energy, then that floating city will be majorly restricted by its dependence on the mainland. It’s actually quite commendable how far X-TU went to design a city that could actually be relatively self-sufficient.
Still, X SEA TY reminds me of the old adage “The straw that broke the camel’s back.” There comes a point when you reach a level of ridiculousness wherein people will stop taking it seriously. You can’t come up with three different revolutionary ideas, cram them all into one package, and expect to get funding or widespread approval.
Wouldn’t it be wiser to test out the viability of floating communities before building a skyscraper-laden island? Wouldn’t it be better to test out algae-covered buildings on the mainland before sticking them on buildings that may sink — literally and metaphorically? I appreciate X-TU’s ambition, but you’ve got to use baby steps with ideas like these. Test to see how well communities based around these concepts work individually, then worry about combining them all together.