Toronto, Canada-based designer and technical and scientific illustrator Hadi Salman has come up with an innovative new concept for an Artificial Coral Reef Science Centre called the Sea Pearl. A part of his bachelor’s thesis project at the Sheridan College Scientific/ Technical Illustration, the Sea Pearl won the designer a Xerox Award of Excellence. The basic idea behind the Sea Pearl is to provide marine enthusiast, environmentalists as well as tourists with a unique sustainably-created sea-based observatory that would not only showcase many of the currently available methods of harvesting renewable energy but also serve as an Eco-tourism hot spot that would highlight the beauty of the sea locales around it. The designer has created the Sea Pearl specifically for the waters near Dubai, UAE but the concept can be molded to suit the sea environment of most moderate-temperature coastlines.
The Sea Pearl draws on the extensive water-based construction that already has a strong base in the Middle Eastern city with Dubai’s waterfront already housing such impressive structures as the Lilypad Floating City, the Palm Islands, the man-made archipelago of 300 islands called The World, the Hydropolis Underwater Hotel and Resort, and the set of artificial islands shaped like the bodies of the solar system called The Universe.
Though the Sea Pearl is hardly as pioneering an effort as these impressive precedents, it takes the emphasis away from the futuristic development of the city’s waterfront and looks to highlight the natural beauty of its water just as they are while serving as an observatory for scientists to study the local marine life. The Sea Pearl will, however, continue with modern-themed development of the city with its massive sea shell-like façade and roof housing transparent photovoltaic that would not only soak in all the sunlight to power the station, but also allow visitors a virtual panoramic view all around the structure.
The observatory will also make use of two other very commonly used modes of renewable energy creation by using a tweaked version of the classic wind turbine as well as tidal turbines that would harness the energy created by the movement of the waves and since the structure where these turbines will be housed would be surrounded by a clear tube-like tunnel acclimatized for humans, it will also serve as an underwater waterway for the tourists and visitors to enjoy the beauty of the sea and marine life.
The most ambitious part of the design, however, remains the development of a massive underwater structure that would not only support the Sea Pearl at the surface but also serve as a base for the development of an artificial coral reef that would be a first for these parts of the world. The designer hopes that the project would serve to excite interest and awareness about sustainable energy and marine life among visitors, locals and tourists.