“Who says fantasy can’t be a reality” This Hydropolis Hotel in Dubai is a fantasy that came into reality. Hydropolis looks like the place in Atlantis wherein people live underwater.
Hydropolis is the world’s first underwater hotel. It is entirely built in Germany and then assembled in Dubai, it is scheduled to be completed by 2009 after many delays. It is currently under construction in Dubai, Hydropolis will be the world’s first luxury underwater hotel. The hotel is included with three elements: the connecting tunnel, which will transport people by train to the main area of the hotel, the land station, where guests will be welcomed, and the 220 suites within the submarine leisure complex. Hydropolis is one of the largest contemporary construction projects in the world, which is covering an area of 260 hectares, about the size of London’s Hyde Park. Joachim Hauser, the developer and designer of the hotel says “Hydropolis is not a project; it’s a passion”. His futuristic vision is about to take shape 20m below the surface of the Persian Gulf, just off the Jumeirah Beach coastline in Dubai.
The land on which Hydropolis is being built belongs to His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai. It was his last free beach property on this stretch of coast. The project is a fantastic one, yet Sheikh Mohammed’s success record with comparable schemes instills confidence that science fiction can become fact. With his support, several companies have been formed to kick-start this phenomenal project, and around 150 firms are currently involved.
“There have been many visions of colonizing the sea – Jules Verne, Jean Gusto and several Japanese architects – but no one has ever managed to realize this dream,” says Hauser. “That was the most challenging factor, and that’s what makes it so fascinating. Despite being a dream of mankind for centuries, nobody has ever been able to make living underwater possible.”
HYDROPOLIS: UNDERWATER HOTEL DESIGN
Hydropolis’ idea was developed out of Hauser’s passion for water and the sea and goes much deeper to build the underwater hotel. More than just curiosity, it is a commitment to a more far-reaching philosophy. “Once you start digging deeper and deeper into the subject, you can’t help being fascinated and you start caring about all the associated issues,” he explains. “Humans consist of 80% water, the earth consists of 80% water; without water, there is no life.”
Hydropolis reproduces the human organism in architectural design. There is a direct analogy between the physiology of man and the architecture. The geometrical element is a figure eight lying on its side and inscribed in a circle. The spaces created in the basin will contain function areas, such as restaurants, bars, meeting rooms, and theme suites. These can be compared to the components of the human organism: the motor functions and the nervous and cardiovascular systems, with the central sinus knot representing the pulse of all life.
The ballroom is located at this nerve center that will have asymmetrical pathways connecting the different storeys along ramps. Staircases, lifts, and ramps will provide access to the ballroom while flanking catering areas will supply banquets and receptions. A large, petal-like retracting roof will enable the staging of open-sky events.
HYDROPOLIS: LAND STATION
In order to enter this surreal space, visitors will begin at the land station on Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach, where they can view a high-tech cinema presentation on the evolution of aquatic life and underwater architecture. As a finale, the screen will open to reveal the real-life Hydropolis. This 120m woven, the semicircular cylinder will arch over a multi-storey building. The upper storeys of the land station house a variety of facilities, including a cosmetic surgery clinic, a marine biological research laboratory, and conference facilities. While on the lowest level passengers board a noiseless train propelled by fully automated cable along a modular, self-supporting steel guideway to Hydropolis. While all 220 of the hotel’s bubble-shaped suites lie on the floor of the Persian Gulf, 66 feet (20 metres) under the surface of the water, the twin domes of the hotel’s concert auditorium and ballroom will break through the surface. A just-in-time and on-demand logistical system will facilitate the efficient supply of goods to the hotel.
The Hydropolis will be well-looked after in emergencies – a series of watertight doors will allow management to completely seal off entire sections of the complex in the case of a rupture and in anticipation that such an extravagant project might be a terrorist target, the complex will have its own missile defense system.
HYDROPOLIS: MARINE ARCHITECTURE
This structure promises to be a conceptual as well as a physical landmark. While human beings accept the existence of water, we have only a superficial appreciation of its significance. “We waste it, go swimming in it, and generally take it for granted,” says Hauser. “Humans could actually live self-sufficiently underwater, generating energy, nurturing food supplies, and so on. This is why we are starting a foundation to demonstrate something of the importance of water in our lives.
Hauser’s general plan was to create a living space in the sea. An initial proposal was a deep-sea project, which looked very different. He had to adjust to the local reality of the natural surroundings and change to a shallow-water construction.
They want to create the first-ever faculty for marine architecture because he believes that the future lies in the sea, including the future of city planning. He thinks that one day a whole city will be built in the sea. And their aim is to lay the first mosaic by colonizing the sea.”
Hauser plans to incorporate many different elements associated with the sea. The cosmetics will be ocean-based, the cinemas will screen films that focus on aquatic themes and a children’s sea world will educate as well as entertain.
He views his creation as a place where those who do not dive – or do not even swim – can experience the tranquility and inspiration of the underwater world. They are expecting around 3,000 visitors a day in addition to the hotel guests. The aim is to inspire people to develop a new awareness of the sea.
As well as emphasizing the positive aspects of water, Hauser also believes they are systematically destroying marine life, and thus wishes to draw attention to various dangers and problems, such as the loss of algae and the destruction of the coral reefs.