Admit it. Whether you grew up on Jules Verne or The Little Mermaid, you know you’ve always had a fantasy about your own little Atlantis. Japanese company Shimizu Corporation has put forth elaborate plans for an undersea housing unit fit for 5,000 residents.
The residential activity will take place within a 500 meter diameter sphere that will generally sit partially exposed above the water level to receive sunlight. However, it can be retracted under the water in the case of inclement weather. Inside the sphere is an hourglass shape where the apartments are located and outer rings at various levels where shopping, dining, and recreation take place.
In addition to housing, the Ocean Spiral will serve as a research station, naturally, with laboratories and exploration taking place on the bottom. Rare earth materials can possibly be mined from the ocean floor. The sphere on top is anchored by a spiral screw.
Any fantasy Atlantis would be mostly self-contained, and this dream version of undersea city is no less efficient. It will produce methane and use ocean temperature gradations to produce energy. Salt water will be made potable through pressurization. Food can be produced through fish farms off to the sides.
The design is a collaboration of the Agency of Fisheries Research, University of Tokyo, and Japan’s Marine-Earth Science and Technology Agency. They see the project planning as a learning experience of its own. With no set timeline, it is to be an ongoing and organic process of development, but the claim is that about $26 billion and five years of construction could bring the project to fruition, once all of the technical details are worked out.
But the company representatives are quick to point out that, as fantastic as the project is, it is certainly more than a mere fantasy. A target date of 2030 is not outside the realm of possibilities.