Every couple of months you hear about some new, fantastic space-age construction project they're building somewhere in the world. Towers that stretch a mile into the sky, or rest under the sea. Entire cities built into massive skyscrapers. You can't help but gasp in awe.
And by "awe" we mean pants-shitting horror. If this is the future, then the future is filled with terrible, terrible ideas.
Hydropolis is a sprawling underwater hotel under construction in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates, the home of most of the world's ridiculous construction projects. Sixty-six feet below the Persian Gulf and covering an area equal to London's Hyde Park, this $5,500-a-night undersea pleasure dome caters to a very select clientele--obscenely rich folks who have never read Michael Crichton's Sphere.
Why It's Awesome:
Juxtaposing an aquatic city next to the world's biggest desert boomtown is such a goofily whimsical idea you can't help but smile. It's like the UAE hired Dr. Seuss as their urban planner. If you still can't picture the sheer ridiculousness of all this, imagine if, across the street from their famous ice hotel, the city of Quebec built a hotel made entirely of fire.
Also, you can look at the beautiful fish of the Persian Gulf. For $3.80 a minute.
"Look, a fish!"
"Want to go watch TV?"
Why You Will Shit Your Pants:
Hmm, what part of "experimental underwater hotel that literally costs the GDP of East Timor, is filled with moronic rich people and is in a politically tenuous corner of the world" does not sound like the next installment of the Die Hard franchise? Or the sequel to Bioshock? Or, hell, any episode of Sealab 2021? Could the potential for shit to FUBAR be any higher?
We'd compare this opulent, waterlogged enterprise to the Titanic, but the Titanic didn't have a built-in missile defense system waiting to malfunction in some horrifying way.
Forget booking your honeymoon here. If you're spending $5,000 a night, you're not going to close the drapes; you want to fuck like Namor the Submariner. And that means Hydropolis is guaranteed to be an aquatic Eden for scuba-diving peeping Toms. Enjoy your stardom on YouTube, kids!
#4. Dynamic Tower
Might as well hit this one since we're already in Dubai. This is an experimental skyscraper with 80 individually rotating stories powered by wind turbines. For a mere $3 million, you too can live in what is essentially the world's most expensive merry-go-round.
Why It's Awesome:
Each floor of the Dynamic Tower is prefabricated and attached to a central axis, thereby lowering construction time and costs. Turbines and solar panels also promise to cover energy expenses. If this structure actually makes good on revolutionizing the skyscraper, the fact that it wiggles like a belly dancer is just walnuts on the baklava.
Why You'll Shit Your Pants:
Right now most of you are thinking, "I know why it's dangerous. All the floors move. Sheiks will be barfing everywhere. Birds will get sandwiched between stories. Pissing will be like standing on the Tilt-A-Whirl at the state fair. And one day, inevitably, the top floor will go flying off the top like a Frisbee. Duh."
Although the Dubai zoning board probably sprinkles salvia in their coffee each morning (see: The World archipelago), they're not dummies. After all, no one would greenlight a $330 million deathtrap for the hell of it... or would they? On that note, let's meet Dynamic Tower architect, David Fisher.
In no particular order, here are some fun facts about Fisher:
#1. He's never built a skyscraper before.
#2. He hasn't a designed a building in years.
#3. His last big project was the "Leonardo da Vinci Smart Bathroom" (i.e., a fancy toilet).
#4. He claims to have received an honorary doctorate from Columbia University's Prodeo Institute, a school that exists only his resume.
Far be it from us to question Fisher's credentials, but let's just say you don't see the United Nations calling Cracked up to revise the Geneva Conventions.
Hey, did we mention the wind turbines built into every floor? You know, the things that in the animation up there look like giant helicopter blades that'll be spinning under your feet at every moment. Even if they're not continually making a sound like an electric blender, you'll have the joy of watching the occasional bird get sucked into it with a thump and a puff of feathers flying past your window.
Also, the Dynamic Tower is slated to open in 2010, so if it does crumble like a house of crap there's a good chance it'll wipe out Hydropolis, also.
#3. Sky City 1000
In 1989, the Takenaka Corporation pitched Sky City 1000 as a solution to Tokyo's land crunch. This 3,281-foot tower will accommodate approximately 36,000 full-time residents and 100,000 workers. Residents will live in the side pillars and 14 dish-like plateaus will fill the tower centers with foliage.
Why It's Awesome:
As you know, Japan has a problem with space. And we aren't talking about Mechagodzilla constantly coming down to Earth and stomping the Harajuku.
Japan has the highest land prices on the planet. Although Sky City 1000 is a pricey endeavor, a bulk of its expenses will be land costs. By smooshing the population of a small town into a structure three times taller than the Eiffel Tower, the builder can preserve greenspace and save enough yen to later retrofit the place with holodecks.
Why You'll Shit Your Pants:
Do you live or work in a skyscraper? Have you see what the fire drills (or, God forbid, actual fires) are like? Now imagine 130,000 people are in your building at the moment the disaster strikes.
Look at it. How the hell do you evacuate this thing? You're not going to use the elevators in a disaster; are you going to run downstairs? It's a freaking kilometer high (more than double the World Trade Center towers) and 400 meters wide. What are they going to do, equip everyone with jet packs?
Crime. In a future where living in an average apartment building is considered luxurious, chances are the poor and disenfranchised would get packed like sardines in this monolithic high rise. And with 36,000 folks crammed wall-to-wall, things would get so bad they'd have to send in the Japanese Robocop.
That's actually probably Mega Man.
Look, Japan, we understand land is limited, but how gigantic of a people-storage facility can you build before before the whole thing just gets ridiculous?