Noah’s new ark

It looks like something from a sci-fi film, but this bizarre floating metropolis may be the solution for cities devastated by extreme weather.

The incredible structure measures a staggering 1,200ft high, covers 30 million square feet and is designed to house up to 40,000 residents.

It comes with everything you would expect to find in a normal city – from hotels to shops, casinos and schools.

The Space Age design is even equipped with gardens, special express elevators for ‘vertical commuting’ and moving walkways for pedestrians.

The bizarre plans were inspired by the devastation caused when the American city of New Orleans was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The damage was so extensive, the community is still in the process of rebuilding.

Now a group of designers, based in Boston, has put together a proposal for a new floating city that will sit on the bank of the Mississippi and could help prevent a similar tragedy.

Called the New Orleans Arcology Habitat, or NOAH, the sturdy triangular creation dissipates strong weather by allowing it to blow through.

Fitted with hurricane panels, the structure can take the blast of a storm with little impact on the community inside.

Kevin Schopfer, who designed the concept, explained the team had three major points in mind when it came to planning NOAH.
He said: ‘The first challenge is to overcome both the physical and psychological damages of recurring severe weather patterns.

‘The need to provide a stabilised and safe environment is paramount to a long term recovery and economic well being of New Orleans.

‘The second challenge is that New Orleans has too much water.

‘The city has been built at and below sea levels which creates consistently high water table and makes it prone to flooding and storm surges.

‘The third challenge is that the city is built on soil condition which consists of thousands of feet of soft soil, silt and clay.

Called the New Orleans Arcology Habitat - or NOAH

‘And these conditions make building large scale concentrated structures difficult.

‘Our solution to overcome these challenges is to take advantage of these seemingly conflicting issues with the introduction of a floating urban platform.

He added: ‘This new master plan seeks to create a new community of 40,000 residents housed in an iconic and visionary structure.

‘In addition to the residential units, this parish would also house a school system, commercial, retail, hotels, casinos, parking, and public works facilities.’

Aftermath: The devastated downtown area of New Orleans eights days after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf of Mexico in August 2005
The devastated downtown area of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf of Mexico

The super city is designed to float in a fixed position, within a water-filled basin measuring 1,200ft across and 250ft deep.

This would be partially carved out of existing land on the banks of the Mississippi and extend out on to the river.

Although based on New Orleans, the design team believes their structure could be used in any coastal urban area.

Mr Schopfer added: ‘This is a project of tremendous potential which pushes beyond current expectations for New Orleans.

‘It is at the forefront of the new age of urban growth possibilities.’

Copyright 2011 by The Daily Mail


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