Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Your Own Not-So-Private Rapture

Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?  How about the waves of his sea?

eVoLo, an architecture magazine I’ve never heard of, holds an annual skyscraper contest.  And this year, the entry getting the most attention only got a Special Mention.Sarly Adre Bin Sarkum’s proposed Water-Scraper would float in the ocean, generating power from most of the Planeteers; wind, water, and solar energy supply the massive structure’s electrical needs.  An ingenious blend of hydroponics, something called “aquaculture”, and farming on the surface of the “island” feed anyone who might care to live in the upside-down, submerged skyscraper part.  What are those weird squid things on the bottom?  I think they help it stay afloat.

A few things come to mind when someone proposes to build a skyscraper at sea.  If he spruced it up with some art deco trimmings, Sarkum’s aquatic abode would resemble BioShock’s Randian dystopia Rapture.  It might be a little while before the genetic splicing and terrifying monsters in diver’s suits crop up, but it’ll happen.  Less insular societies have produced worse.

I’m also reminded of something I heard in 7th grade Social Studies: Japanese underground skyscrapers.  This dream goes all the way back to 1990, with the Taisei Corporation making plans for so-called “Alice Cities.”  It doesn’t seem like they’ve fully delivered on their promises, but that doesn’t mean other underground structures don’t exist.  There are plenty of them in the good ol’ US of A.  Give it a few thousand years, we’ll have Morlocks on our hands.

As we try to reconcile our Green initiatives with our resource-hogging Xbox- and iPad-lust, more and more creative solutions to the problems of overpopulation will surface.  We may well need these underwater cities.  Unless, of course, we triumph over an invading alien race and use their technology to colonize their planets.  It could happen, you know.