On Tuesday, engineering company Shimizu Corporation announced the third entry in its “Shimizu Dream Series”–an idea for a futuristic deep sea underwater city named “Ocean Spiral.” The concept was developed over a period of two years through collaboration with Tokyo University, Saga University, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology [JAMSTEC], and other leading research partners.

Although the project has a hefty price tag, officials also say that the proposed colony has the potential to become a reality in the not so distant future. Science fiction fan or not, you’ve got to take a look at these conceptual designs–this may be what’s in store for the future of our species!

According to an official statement by Shimizu Corporation, “Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is ocean. Utilization of the deep ocean is indispensable for the durability of human society.” This belief is the underlying reasoning behind their latest innovative engineering blueprint known as “Ocean Spiral.”

The “floating city” will consist of a spiral-shaped tube beneath the water connected to a spherical residential area that’s 500 meters (1,640 feet) in diameter with a capacity to house 5,000 people. The residential area will achieve its stability through a careful balance between buoyancy and gravity. Furthermore, the sphere can be fully submerged in the event of a tsunami, typhoon, or other natural disaster. 

▼A rendition of the spherical living area


▼As seen from the water’s surface


▼An artist’s rendering of the interior


But the scope of the project goes beyond merely building a fully submersible city in itself (though that’s no small feat). The previously mentioned spiral-shaped tube will actually reach 3,000-4,000 meters (9,843-13,123 feet) down to the depths of the ocean floor and connect to a resources development plant which will mine mineral resources on the ocean floor. In addition, the structure would also support deep sea fish farms and be equipped with a water processing facility to convert seawater into fresh water, among other exciting features.

▼A full model of “Ocean Spiral,” from the ocean’s surface to its floor


▼Details of the tube



The major drawback of “Ocean Spiral” is, predictably, the logistics. Construction of the structure would take five years and cost over three trillion yen (US$25.4 billion). Scientists involved in the project, however, are confident that the idea for “Ocean Spiral” can be made into a reality sometime between the years 2030-2050.

For further details and illustrations, please take a look at this downloadable PDF file from Shimizu Corporation. Even if you can’t read Japanese, you can still marvel over the gorgeous conceptual artwork. Also, although the project’s English language site is not up yet, you can read about Shimizu’s previous two “Dream Series” entries here, which include a plan to use a “Luna Ring” to generate lunar solar power.

On a final note, let’s take a look at what some Japanese net users had to say regarding the announcement of “Ocean Spiral”: 

“It’s really cool, but for three trillion yen ($25.4 billion)…”

“There’s no escape route!”

“Prisons should create facilities like this.”

“It’s finally time for the Japanese, who didn’t invent cars or airplanes, to invent something original…”

“I wonder what kind of fish they’d be raising down there.”

“I’d like to live in that future city.”

“Just create a mobile suit already!”

Keep your eyes out for “Ocean Spiral” in the news over the next few decades. We’ll have to wait and see what other technological accomplishments the future will bring!

Source: Mainichi Shinbun via Hachima Kiko
Images: Shimizu Corporation