Over time, it has become very clear that human progress has often come at the expense of our oceans, lakes, rivers and other bodies of water. Of these, saltwater environments are probably faring the worst: in addition to the destruction of native environments and the loss of a number of species, processes like oceanic acidification are changing the chemical makeup of our oceans, rendering them toxic to marine life. Fortunately, a number of organizations and communities are beginning to take steps to reverse these unfortunate developments. One common project, for example, is the addition of artificial fish habitats to areas where the natural environment has been destroyed. These artificial reefs serve as fish attractors, drawing food and providing shelter for a variety of species, which helps promote the growth of fish populations in the area.
Now, fish attractors and artificial reefs are growing so popular that this type of project is serving as a genesis for a number of creative solutions. For example, New York City subway cars are now being used to create artificial reefs along the east coast of the United States. However, what is even more interesting is how these artificial fish structures are being incorporated into plans for our future.
Recently, an award-winning trio of French and Romanian architects, Quentin Perchet, Thomas Yvon and Zarko Uzlac, released a proposal called BIODIVER[CITY]. Their plans depict a huge floating platform, accessed by boat. Below the surface, however, the structure is comprised of hundreds of tubular struts, allowing coral and microorganisms to attach to the building. Observation decks follow each layer of the struts, allowing visitors to travel deeper and deeper into the reef, gaining a rare view of different types of marine life who are drawn to the futuristic fish attractors.
Currently, BIODIVER[CITY] is nothing more than an artist’s rendering, and it is unlikely to become anything else in the near future. Already, the proposal has been criticized by marine experts, who point out that existing artificial reefs, like decommissioned oil rigs, would disturb environments less than a new project. However, as ocean life continues to flounder, any project that seeks to promote marine populations and showcase a natural wonder is worthy of our attention, before such things disappear for good.