Swiss Designer Creating the Equivalent to the ‘International Space Station’ Under Water

Courtesy Fuse Project

The groundbreaking design is for French ocean conservationist Fabien Cousteau.

Designers are always looking for ways to push the boundaries when it comes to new builds. Westminster design student Eliza Hague recently unveiled her idea for a collapsible greenhouse, and Manila-based architects proposed creating floating modular homes in flood-prone areas. Now, Yves Behar is taking design into another dimension: underwater. 

The Swiss designer recently shared his design for a submerged pressurized research station that's being hailed as "the ocean's equivalent to the International Space Station." Called Proteus and 60 feet underwater near the Caribbean island of Curaçao, the structure will be able to house up to 12 researchers and aquanauts (aka scientists who breathe pressurized air underwater for over 24 hours). This will allow them to collaborate in an incredibly unique environment, much like astronauts on the International Space Station. 

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"The research station will enable the discovery of new species of marine life, create a better understanding of how climate change affects the ocean, and allow for the testing of advanced technologies for green power, aquaculture, and robotic exploration," Behar told Dezeen of the station created for French ocean conservationist Fabien Cousteau.


Courtesy Fuse Project

As far as the structure itself, it will feature two levels with a curving ramp between and circular-shaped common areas for group meetings. "Both circular floors are offset to allow as much natural light as possible through skylights and portholes, and are connected by a sloping ramp which creates the opportunity for physical activity," said Behar.

Smaller pods will line the perimeter and hold spaces like bathrooms, bedrooms, and laboratories. Incredibly, the design even includes an underwater greenhouse where the researchers can grow their own food. Of course, there will be safe, direct access to the water.

Visually, it's everything you'd expect from a futuristic design. "Fabien and I looked at many exploratory designs from the 60s and 70s, a golden era of interest for the oceans pioneered by the Cousteau family history," said Behar." We felt that Proteus could incorporate a new visual language based on modern hull and composite building technology, as well as be a state-of-the-art scientific environment while delivering a comfortable social interior space."