Building on water, or when architecture takes off


The tower is 268 meters above the sea. Its futuristic physiognomy is delirious. In June 2021, Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto created a buzz by winning the competition to design the Qianhai New City Center in Shenzhen Bay in China. His project – based on 99 floating islands! – looks like a magical waterfall with a platform at the top that gives the illusion of flying through the air.

Not so long ago, we looked with circumspection on these aquatic constructions of the third type. Round, oval, slender, these science fiction models looking like snowflakes, spaceships or gigantic marine oases even made you smile.

But now, to save humanity from exponential population growth and inevitable climatic upheaval, floating houses, neighborhoods, cities or micro-states have become the torchbearers of all imaginations. Water world. And if some lords of Silicon Valley, like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos, dream of conquering space, others work on “floating and independent micro-nations”, like Patri Friedman (grandson of liberal economist Milton Friedman) and libertarian billionaire Peter Thiel.

The two men invested several million dollars a few years ago in The Seasteading Institute, a think tank intended to promote megalomaniac projects resembling Noah’s Arks. “Reinventing Civilization

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