Human-driven climate change is threatening the coastal areas that nearly half of the world calls home with rising sea levels and increasingly severe storms. While dams, barriers, dredging, and artificial reefs are sometimes used to address these “forces of nature,” these strategies come with their own drawbacks and, in some cases, significant environmental and ecological impacts. Researchers at MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab, in collaboration with Invena, a Maldivian organization, have proposed a solution that is inspired by nature. Called "Growing Islands," their project uses wave energy to grow sand formations in a way that mimics natural sand accumulation. The hope is that over time, sand can “grow” into new islands, beaches, and barriers that can protect coasts from erosion and save islands like the Maldives that are under threat of disappearing under rising seas. The Growing Islands project uses sand-filled 10-foot-by-10-foot canvas bladders with biodegradable 3D-printed interiors that use energy generated by waves to create new protective sand formations to rebuild beaches and act as “adaptable artificial reefs,” according to the lab’s website. The site goes on to explain: “By harnessing wave forces to accelerate and guide the accumulation of sand in strategic locations, and adapting the placement of the devices to seasonal changes and storm direction, our approach aims to naturally and sustainably reshape sand topographies using the forces of nature.” This past winter, the lab and Invena installed these devices off the Maldivian coast and are collecting data by way of on-the-ground measurements, drones, and satellite imagery. They hope to create an affordable, sustainable solution to protecting island nations—many under threat of disappearance—and coastal towns and cities from encroaching water. More dramatically, the lab also imagines that this process could be leveraged at a larger scale to create entire new islands over time.
Posts tagged with "Maldives":
The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island has officially announced the opening of the world’s first underwater hotel residence, a groundbreaking, two-story villa submerged more than 16 feet below sea level in the Indian Ocean. The deep-set dwelling, designed by Maldavian architect Ahmed Saleem with interiors by New York-based Yuji Yamazaki Architecture, is an ambitious display of architecture, design, and technology. The villa is named The Muraka, which means “coral” in Dhivehi, the Maldives’ native language, for the way it rests on the ocean floor. The structure is composed of concrete, steel, and acrylic glass, with a spiral staircase and private elevator to aid guests in their descent below sea level. Once underwater, the structure’s glassy tunnels and see-through walls—made up of only a slender, acrylic dome—separate the spacious living quarters from the adjacent tropical reef. Equipped with a private bar, butler’s quarters, gym, and infinity pool, the sunken retreat embraces luxury. The massive bed, shower, and bathtub in the underwater lower level have 180-degree, panoramic views of the ocean, and the top floor, which rests above the water, comprises a sprawling relaxation deck for tanning and unwinding. The elaborate suite isn’t cheap. It is only available for a four-night, $200,000 vacation package, which includes a personal chef, private boat, and an automatic upgrade to Hilton Diamond status. In addition to The Muraka, the Conrad hotel is home to Ithaa, a five-star undersea restaurant which opened in 2005. The construction of The Muraka was both innovative and environmentally conscious. Each piece of the 600-ton lower level was built in Singapore and then transported to the Maldives via a specialized ship before being plunged underwater and anchored firmly in place using ten concrete pilings. The sturdy pilings ensure that the villa does not shift or downright float away amid high tides or rough waves. The acrylic enclosing the lower level was supplied by Nippura Co., a Japanese aquarium manufacturer, and sealed with Shin Etsu Marine sealant. The architect also opted to work with a team of marine biologists to guarantee that the sprawling villa would not disturb the surrounding seabed, including the coral from which it derives its name. For travelers who aren’t brave enough to spend four nights in the depths of the Indian Ocean, the Conrad also boasts a number of luxury villas that sit on stilts above the water.
Hot on the heels of the world's first underwater resort opening in the Maldives, an upscale hotel has opened a building with a distinctive solar panel roof on a private island in the Indian Ocean archipelago. New York's Yuji Yamazaki Architecture (YYA), which also created the submarine building, designed the new destination, known as the Kudadoo Maldives Private Island. The architects claim that the 320-kilowatt-peak (kWp) capacity of the roof system is enough to power the entire resort and that the system will recoup its cost after five years of use. Other design touches, like gaps between the panels to allow filtered interior daylighting and an extensive canopy overhang for shading, aim to minimize power use. The Maldives, a low-lying collection of atolls in the middle of the ocean, are exceptionally sensitive to climate change and any subsequent sea-level rise. Some studies estimate that islands like the Maldives may be uninhabitable by the middle of the century as rising sea levels flood aquifers, damage infrastructure, and submerge livable space. This makes the use sustainable power sources like solar panels particularly salient for the area. YYA chose to celebrate the panels on the roof rather than minimizing them or trying to camouflage them among other materials. Visitors will primarily approach the resort by plane, and the panels will be one of the first things they see. Of course, rooms at the private island don't come cheap. A recent search showed rooms starting at $2400 a night.
The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island has officially announced the opening of the world’s first underwater hotel residence, a ground-breaking, two-story villa submerged more than 16 feet below sea-level. Now urging guests to dive below the surface of the Indian Ocean, the deep-set dwelling is an ambitious display of architecture, design, and technology. The villa is named “The Muraka,” which translates to “coral” in the Maldives’ native language, Dhivehi, for the way that it rests along the ocean floor, peacefully observing the sea life that surrounds it. The sunken retreat embraces luxury, equipped with a private bar, butler's quarters, gym, and infinity pool. The massive bed, shower, and bathtub have panoramic views of the ocean. The top floor, which rests above the water, comprises a sprawling relaxation deck for tanning and unwinding. The elaborate suite isn't cheap. It costs an astounding $50,000 per night, although it is only available for a four-night, $200,000 vacation package, which includes a personal chef, private boat, and automatic upgrade to Hilton Diamond status. In addition to The Muraka, The Conrad is home to Ithaa, a five-star restaurant submerged below the sea. The construction of The Muraka was both innovative and environmentally-conscious. Each piece of the modular structure was built in Singapore and then carefully shipped to the Maldives, before being plunged underwater and nailed into place using thick, concrete pylons. The sturdy pylons ensure that the villa does not shift or downright float away in the midst of high tides or rough waves. “The completion of The Muraka is a personal lifetime achievement,” said Ahmed Saleem, chief architect and designer of the residence, in a statement. “After years in the making, my team and I are proud to officially present The Muraka residence and its accompanying Maldivian experience to worldly travelers who crave the extraordinary." For travelers who aren't brave enough to spend four nights below the depths of the Indian Ocean, The Conrad also boasts a number of luxury villas that sit above the water.