There are very few urban design solutions that address housing the
inevitable tide of displaced people that could arise as oceans swell
under global warming. Certainly none are spectacular as this one. The
Lilypad, by Vincent Callebaut, is a concept for a completely
self-sufficient floating city intended to provide shelter for future
climate change refugees. The intent of the concept itself is laudable,
but it is Callebaut's phenomenal design that has captured our
Biomimicry was clearly the inspiration behind the design. The Lilypad, which was
designed to look like a waterlily, is intended to be a zero emission
city afloat in the ocean. Through a number of technologies (solar,
wind, tidal, biomass), it is envisioned that the project would be able
to not only produce it's own energy, but be able to process
CO2 in the atmosphere and absorb it into its titanium dioxide skin.
Each of these floating cities are designed to hold approximately around
50,000 people. A mixed terrain man-made landscape, provided by an
artificial lagoon and three ridges, create a diverse environment for
the inhabitants. Each Lilypad is intended to be either near a coast, or
floating around in the ocean, traveling from the equator to the
northern seas, according to where the gulf stream takes it.
The project isn't even close to happening anytime soon, but
there is value in future forward designs like the Lilypad. They inspire
creative solutions, which at some point, may actually provide a real
solution to the climate change problem.