Jacques Rougerie is a visionary architect who enjoys two passions: the sea and architecture. His latest marine SeaOrbiter project is a synthesis of over 30 years of innovative research in marine and underwater architecture. Jacques Rougerie has built submarine laboratories, marine research centers, ships with transparent corps, sub-aqueous museums. He also developed submarine villages and structures to show the beauty of the sea and its fundamental role in the great history of mankind.
LDaily: You have many ambitious projects related to the sea. Why you have chosen the sea?
J. Rougerie: Since childhood, I have been attracted to the sea and ocean. I love the sea, I cannot imagine my life without it and my dream is to propose underwater gear and housings in order to offer the opportunity to explore the unknown ocean. We live in the time when I have a chance to create things I have dreamed about.
Nowadays, the population of our planet and the potential increase in the sea level give new ideas about where people can live beyond the earthly expanse. Now, more than 50% of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometers of the coast, and by 2050, this figure will reach 75% – this is more than six billion people. This is what motivates me to find new concepts and to create innovative littoral and marine developments.
The sea is a huge invaluable source of energy for humanity in the future.
LDaily: When did your first project start?
J. Rougerie: I developed the first underwater projects based on biomimicry in the early 1970s. One of them is the “Village under the Sea of the Virgin Islands” in the United States. Originally, it was intended for NOAA and NASA, the two largest US agencies in the field of marine and space research. The project was aimed at creating communities of aquanauts and astronauts on the seabed of the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. The village, submerged at a depth of 30 to 40 meters, should have between 50 and 250 inhabitants. The bionic architecture that met the special living conditions of the underwater community life has been adapted to the research and management of underwater resources. Particular attention was paid to the technical development of aquaculture. Also, the settlement should have served as a submarine training base for NASA’s astronauts.
LDaily: What is your mission, the main idea, and what would you like the audience to focus on? What message do you want to convey?
J. Rougerie: My motto is: “The fate of future civilizations will be born in the ocean.” I have been convinced of this since my childhood. Our time is already moving in this direction. Therefore, I would like to convey to the youth the values of the “blue society” to develop the “blue economy” for the benefit of humanity. For the same reasons, I also created an international foundation, which annually grants the architectural awards. Today, we have collected 7000 applications from 135 countries.
LDaily: How many projects have you implemented?
J. Rougerie: About 100 projects.
LDaily: Which of them are you most proud of?
J. Rougerie: This is the underwater SeaOrbiter space station. It took 12 years for SeaOrbiter idea to evolve into a big project with innovative engineering developments. The design of the ship has included almost all the latest “green” technology, which makes it as clean as possible from an environmental point of view. As for the SeaOrbiter mobility, it will mainly use the energy of sea and ocean currents, sunlight, wind and waves, and if necessary, will use biofuel “grown” and produced directly on the shipboard.
The City of Meriens, a bionic and biomimetic concept shaped like a manta ray was created in 2009 from the concept of the Meriens civilization. This International Oceanographic University drifting in the major ocean currents will aim to host researchers, scientists, teachers and students all over the world during very long periods. City of Meriens is designed to be a floating scientific city entirely dedicated to the observation and analysis of marine biodiversity, and is meant to follow the multidisciplinary programs developed by the SeaOrbiter’s network of sentinels in 2050. The city will be about 900 meters in length and 500 meters wide, about 25 000 people will be able to inhabit it. This mobile city can accommodate lagoon research vessels of different sizes dedicated to abyssal explorations. It also includes a lot of living spaces like lecture halls, laboratories, living rooms and special halls for sports and recreation.
For the scientific world, SeaOrbiter and City of Mériens have a huge research potential, besides, the results of research conducted on these ships can be used in practice to improve both the life survival of humanity in the future and the ecological situation on the planet. The project will contribute to the discovery of those scientific horizons that are so far the least explored.
LDaily: Why is this project special?
J. Rougerie: As long as this project combines all the searches, scientific and creative ideas, it will help the mankind open up new ways of exploring the space and the marine world. It is some kind of peculiar fetish.
LDaily: Who helps to organize projects? Are there some companies or funds?
J. Rougerie: We have the Jacques Rougerie Architectes Associates agency and our own foundation, the Jacques Rougerie Foundation Space and Sea Generationfor.
LDaily: How are your projects safe for the inhabitants of the sea?
J. Rougerie: This is a very important issue. We have built several underwater constructions, including Galathée, Hippocampe, Aquabulle. Obviously, when we build underwater accommodation facilities, we do everything as safely as possible. Underwater safety standards are significantly different from terrestrial ones. They are closer, let’s say, to the standards of space construction.
LDaily: What projects have been implemented or will be implemented in China?
J. Rougerie: These are Chinese Academy Park and the Qingdao Marine Museum projects.
LDaily: What projects are you working on now?
J. Rougerie: We have recently completed the construction of the European Center for Nausicaa. We are currently working on a variety of projects: the competition for the best pool of the Paris Olympics-2024, the private airport terminal in Miami and the already mentioned SeoOrbiter project. We are also building the Marine Museum of French Polynesia in Tahiti, the Museum of the Mediterranean Sea in Perpignan, and we are also engaged in other projects that are still at the stage of formation.
LDaily: Do you think that such projects might appear in Ukraine?
J. Rougerie: Ukraine has very talented young people and considerable potential. You also have large-scale water resources – the Black and Azov Seas, groups of large lakes in many regions of the country. The young generation interested in this area of science should be given a chance to participate in international marine design contests. The life credo that space and the marine worlds are partly explored and open extremely promising way of improving the life of humanity will contribute to the development of generations in the future and thus, to future civilizations, including Ukraine. There is potential. So, why not use it?
LDaily: Do you plan to implement any ambitious project in Ukraine?
J. Rougerie: Maybe. We’ll be able to discuss this a bit later… (smiles).
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