Responding to the rising sea levels due to climate change, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group has released updated plans for a floating city on the coast of Busan in South Korea. OCEANIX Busan is a collaborative effort between UN-Habitat, OCEANIX and the Busan Metropolitan City of the Republic of South Korea and was unveiled at the Second UN Roundtable on Sustainable Floating Cities; a follow up to the inaugural Roundtable in April 2019, where it was agreed upon to build a prototype with a host city.
OCEANIX is the brainchild of Itai Madamombe and Marc Collins Chen, which aims to develop sustainable floating cities for people to live and work on the ocean.
The prototype project, OCEANIX Busan is a series of interconnected platforms, totalling an area of 15.5 acres that will accommodate 12000 people, initially. The community will include living, research and lodging and can expand to accommodate more than 100,000 people
Designed as a cluster of small neighbourhoods floating on water, each contains low-rise buildings featuring terraces for outdoor and indoor spaces that activate the public realm at different times of the day. Each neighbourhood will contain approximately 30,000 to 40,000 square metres of mixed-use programs and adapt over the time, based on the need of Busan.
“OCEANIX’s modular maritime neighbourhood will be a prototype for sustainable and resilient cities. As our first manifestation of this new form of waterborne urbanism, OCEANIX Busan will expand the city’s unique character and culture from dryland into the water around it. We believe OCEANIX’s floating platforms can be developed at scale to serve as the foundations for future resilient communities in the most vulnerable coastal locations on the frontlines of climate change,” says Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director, BIG.
The floating platforms will be connected to land with link-span bridges, framing the blue lagoon of recreation, art, and performance outposts. Each neighbourhood will be of maximum five levels and 20 - 25 metres in height.
The floating platforms are designed to be self-sufficient with 100% of the power planned to be generated through floating solar farms and rooftop photovoltaic panels. OCEANIX Busan plans to be a model for regenerative design, going beyond just being sustainable. It includes six integrated systems: zero waste and circular systems, closed-loop water systems, food, net-zero energy, innovative mobility, and coastal habitat regeneration.
The neighbourhoods will replenish their own water and use innovative urban agriculture to provide food for the community. The platforms will also reduce and recycle their waste and resources to create a closed-loop community living on the ocean.
“Today is a pivotal milestone for all coastal cities and island nations on the frontlines of climate change. We are on track to delivering OCEANIX Busan and demonstrating that floating infrastructure can create new land for coastal cities looking for sustainable ways to expand onto the ocean while adapting to sea-level rise,” said the Chief Executive Officer of OCEANIX, Mr Philipp Hofmann.
With two out of every five people living within 100 kilometres of the coast, scientists predict that 90 per cent of the megacities worldwide are vulnerable to rising sea levels. This has the potential to create millions of climate refugees, especially affecting the poorest families out there.
OCEANIX Busan is an intriguing experiment to counter the effects of the rising sea and offer alternatives by building sustainable, adaptable, and scalable communities on water.
OCEANIX design and engineering partners on the Busan prototype include: Prime Movers Lab, BIG –Bjarke Ingels Group, SAMOO Architects and Engineers, Arup, Bouygues Construction, Helena, the MIT Centre for Ocean Engineering, the Korea Maritime and Ocean University, top environmental artist Olafur Eliasson and Studio Other Spaces, Wartsila, Transsolar KlimaEngineering, Mobility in Chain, Sherwood Design Engineers, Agritecture, the Centre for Zero Waste Design, Greenwave, and the Global Coral Reef Alliance.
OCEANIX is a blue tech company founded by Itai Madamombe and Marc Collins Chen in 2018 to design and build floating cities for people to live sustainably on the ocean.