French architect Jacques Rougerie wants to explore the world’s oceans, and he needs your money to do it. How much, you ask? Just a mere €325,000 ($436,000).Yes, I know it sounds outlandish, but Rougerie is already well on his way to making his dream a reality. His crowdfunding campaign has already amassed €20,502, and it still has 75 days to go. Fans of aquatic architecture may want to chip in a few bucks, because Rougerie’s proposed ship will truly be a sight to behold.
The aptly-named SeaOrbiter will be the world’s first vertical ship. If you’re anything like me, the first thing that crossed your mind when you read that was, “Vertical ship!? How do they expect to keep it from tipping over?”
It’s quite clever, actually. The bottom-most portion of the SeaOrbiter is heavier than water, so the force of gravity wants to pull the ship straight down. The upper part of the ship, however, is buoyant. As a result, the ship will remain vertical at all times.
This vertical design actually serves a dual purpose. The submerged section of the ship would allow inhabitants to easily observe the surrounding waters and take samples of marine life. It would essentially act as an underwater lab, with as many as four floors microscopes and other scientific tools.
The ship won’t be able to dock in many harbors because it would drag against the ground, but that’s no problem at all — the designers intend for the ship to be 100 percent self-sufficient. SeaOrbiter would harvest solar, wind, and wave power to keep its motors running, and they hope to have it operating on a super green biofuel designed by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company. All they’d need is a self-sustaining garden and a group of scientists would be able to live aboard the SeaOrbiter indefinitely.
Rougerie explained, “One of the first users will be the science community. It’s designed to explore the ocean in a new way, mainly spending time under the sea, giving people the opportunity to live under the sea for a very long time, to observe, to undertake research missions, like marine biology, oceanography, and climate issues.”
Assuming, of course, that they can pull together the remaining €305,000. That’s a boatload of cash (literally), but I think I’d bet on the crowdfunding site reaching its goal. The SeaOrbiter has a noble cause and the story has been picked up by news agencies all over the world. Besides, the remaining €325,000 is chump change compared to its overall price tag, which is somewhere in the ballpark of $43 million. I doubt that such a huge project would come so far only to get stalled out by 2% of its total cost.
If the SeaOrbiter becomes a reality, this landmark vessel will blaze trails in every sense of the word. Not only will it collect critical scientific data about the world’s oceans, but it could also usher in a new era of vertical ships. Will vertical ships become the new norm? Will companies begin building gigantic floating docks so that vertical ships can dock in a deep harbor?
It’s hard to say for sure, but this much is certain: the SeaOrbiter will capture the world’s attention the second it hits the water. It has a gorgeous, sail-like design, it utilizes never-before-seen technology, and its crew could reshape our understanding of the world’s oceans.
What are your thoughts on the SeaOrbiter’s aesthetic? Are you as excited as I am by its unconventional design, or do you think it’s too impractical to really catch on?