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The evolution of Aquatecture: SeaManta, a floating coral reef

Joerg Baumeister

With our oceans under increasing pressure, our coral reefs are amongst the first to suffer. Therefore, we were exploring to what extent we could merge our skills as aquatects with those of marine engineering and marine environment to design a floating artificial reef which provides ecological and economic stimulus to our reefs and oceans. The transdisciplinary system-based design approach revealed many opportunities for floating structures. Therefore, we suggest as a more general outcome the development of the concept "aquatecture" further.


The specific outcome is a first of its kind floating structure with a total length of 60m. Its pragmatically shaped aquatic design is driven by hydrodynamic and wind parameters, maximum water contact, and sufficient sunlight for the floating reef. Digital models were cross-compared with scaled physical models in wave tanks and a wind tunnel. The hybrid design technique was used to optimise the development process which lead to a Manta-like form, therefore the name SeaManta.


The Sea Manta is anchored to allow to move as non-invasive structure in line with changing wind and wave conditions. Its major component is the integrated artificial reef which can be sustained through a process called electro-accumulation of minerals. A low voltage current is passed through the structure to help grow a limestone-like substance from the dissolved minerals in the water, supplemented by porous 3D printed ceramic. This will create a very strong reef structure with high levels of dissolved oxygen, letting the corals and fish flourish.


Divers can enjoy this marine habitat below the water surface. Above water, hospitality and dive facilities, a swimming pool and interactive aquarium displays are inviting everybody who is thrilled by the synergy of marine wild-life's protection and fascination.

KEYWORDS: Aquatecture, Floating Reef, Marine system design, Aquatic Design, Dive Attraction


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Joerg Baumeister has been a practitioner, educator, and researcher for Architecture and Urban Design for more than 20 years throughout Europe, Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Asia, and Australia.


He is an award-winning architect and consulting governmental institutions on the federal, state and regional level as well as NGOs and private industry leaders to apply his current research interests which comprises Ecological Cities, Affordable Housing in serial building technology, and Design Innovation through creative thinking.

Joerg is also leading the "SeaCities" research lab ( at the Cities Research Institute, Griffith University which develops and implements water-adapted cities (aquacities) and floating structures (aquatecture). The team has transdisciplinary mental, digital, physical and social expertise to create synergistic solutions to turn coastal risks into opportunities, such as amphibious and aquatic floating structures for water-based infrastructure, symbiotic aquaculture systems, and marine tourism.


Joerg is Scientist for Future and DAAD Research Ambassador.

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