Sustainable – “My hope is that the same passion we have for space exploration and the space station will converge to our ocean station. With PROTEUS™, humans can interact with the very entity they hope to understand: our oceans. We can begin to lay the foundation for a more sustainable existence moving forward.” Says California-based architect and innovator Yves Behar, founder of fuseproject.
Located off of Curaçao, at a depth of 60 feet in richly biodiverse marine-protected water, PROTEUS™ is a project by French Ocean conservationists Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, for the Fabien Cousteau Ocealn Learning Center (FCOLC). The structure hosting up to 12 residents will be a platform for global collaboration amongst the world’s leading researchers, academics, government agencies, and corporations to advance science to benefit the future of the planet.
PROTEUS™ will enable the discovery of new species of marine life, create a better understanding of how climate change affects the Ocean and allow for testing of advanced technologies for green power, aquaculture and robotic exploration.
Attached to the ocean floor by legs designed to adapt to the variable terrain, PROTEUS™ houses social and workspaces and a communication studio. The main body of the structure contains a moon pool allowing submersibles to dock. The station will also have the first underwater greenhouse so residents can grow fresh plant food in order to solve the challenge of not being able to cook with open flames.
A series of modular pods are attached to the main body and accommodate a variety of uses such as laboratories, sleeping quarters, bathrooms, medical bays, life support systems and storage which can be modified and added on over time.
The two levels of PROTEUS™ are connected by a spiral ramp to encourage physical activity and movement for the inhabitants. Common spaces include a living room, kitchen, dining, and work areas. The central ramp connects the main spaces within PROTEUS ™ which are designed to feel inviting and comfortable, an approach which is a departure from most facilities of this nature which typically forego comfort and a sense of home in favor of cold utility.
“Two of the other biggest challenges to staying underwater for longer spans of time is the social isolation and lack of natural light.” Says Yves Behar. “The central spaces will provide physical comfort, social connection and professional collaboration. Additionally, the station will be designed to gather as much light as possible from windows, on the top, and around the sides of the structure.”
“As our life support system, the Ocean is indispensable to solving the planet’s biggest problems.” Says Fabien Cousteau. “Challenges created by climate change, rising sea levels, extreme storms and viruses represent a multi-trillion-dollar risk to the global economy.”
“Understanding the limitations of underwater research better than anyone – setting the then world record for longest amount of time living under water at 31 days – Fabien and his team know the research potential will be exponentially accelerated when scientists can live, explore and analyze uninterrupted for extended periods of time.”
All images and videos: courtesy of the Fabien Cousteau Ocealn Learning Center (FCOLC).
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