5 Amazing Buildings of the Future (And How They'll Kill You)


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.

Other Inconveniences:

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!

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.

Other Inconveniences:

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.


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?

Other Inconveniences:

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?

Shimizu Mega-City Pyramid

Holy shit. So... we owe Sky City an apology.

This uber-Pyramid would hold 750,000 people in a gigantic monstrosity to be built over Tokyo Bay.

All right, these guys are clearly just trying to out-horror themselves at this point. Somewhere there's a guy drawing up plans for a complex to house all of the world's orphans in a gargantuan glass dome suspended over an active volcano.

Why It's Awesome:

The proposed 1.25-miles high Shimizu Mega-City Pyramid would be 12 times taller than the Great Pyramid of Giza. Seeing as how Japan has 128 million people vacuum-packed in residential areas one-fourth the size of California, the pyramid will help alleviate the nation's burgeoning overpopulation problem.

Why You'll Shit Your Pants:

Hey, remember all that stuff about trying to evacuate Sky City in the event of a disaster? Now imagine three quarters of a million panicked people trying to cram their way down the stairwell. It really does seem like the kind of horror no terrorist could resist causing.

As an added bonus, Mega-City's construction and maintenance rely on a great deal of yet-to-be-invented technology, all of which, if modern sci-fi cinema has taught us anything, is bound for murderous sentience.

So if the cleaning droids don't start eviscerating Tokyoites, the genetically modified algae fuel cells will. And if the algae don't start sleeping with our wives, those blasted carbon nanotubes will.

Other Inconveniences:

Mechanized walkways and commuter pods will handle all transit within the Mega-City. This makes sense given the pyramid's size, but we can't help but imagine the city's walkways clogged with a non-stop parade of lost pets, winos and confused old people--all cycling throughout the complex for days like some tragically hilarious Rube Goldberg doodle.

Galactic Suites

The International Space Station has accommodated literally half dozens of space tourists since 2001. To meet this overwhelming demand for zero gravity holidays, Galactic Suite Limited, a Spanish company, is devising an orbital three-bedroom hotel. Yes, we're thinking half of the horror films in the future are going to be set at this place.

Why It's Awesome:

Remember how you wanted to be an astronaut when you were a kid? Remember how you gave up that dream after double majoring in Budweiser and Hoagies? Wouldn't it be great to show the world you have the right stuff after all?

Why You'll Shit Your Pants:

Well, there's the fact that you're suspended in a tiny pod out in the freezing vacuum of space, where help is days or weeks away should your attached rocket malfunction.

Not that most of us will ever know; only an estimated 40,000 people on the entire planet can afford Galactic Suite's $4 million three-day stay. If you got that kind of scratch, you're not reading Cracked. You're buying us.

Secondly, Galactic Suite Limited should have a word with their press agent. Several of the hotel's innovations purposely invoke films in which shit goes terribly wrong in space. Velcro shoes and walls from 2001: A Space Odyssey? The tropical launch silo from Moonraker? What next, facehugger spa treatments?

The acid blood is really great for your head chakra.

Finally, none of Galactic Suite's designs have been built or tested yet, which bodes poorly for its 2012 launch date. Our hats go off to those extremely rich, extremely stupid folks who've reserved rooms for its opening gala. Remember: In space, no one can hear you litigate. Because you'll be dead.

Other Inconveniences:

You'd have buyer's remorse after one day there. The 15 sunrises and sunsets per day would get old fast. You'd feel too stupid to watch TV and if your fellow tourists do speak English, they're probably bastards. You could give space sex a go, but even then you'd cry, as globules of your own juices waft up and sting your eyes.

This was totally worth it?

To see what we thought the future was going to look like, check out The 8 Most Common Sci-Fi Visions of the Future (And Why They'll Never Happen). Or find out about how Back to the Future made Brockway the insecure baby he is today, in The Hoverboard Lie: How Back to the Future Ruined Childhood.

And stop by our Top Picks to see the future of the Internet.

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