As has been stated previously, the key differences between the TMP2 vision of Aquarius and the original concept devised by Marshal Savage are the idea of incremental growth, the reliance on pneumatically stabilized platform technology which eliminates the need for a breakwater as structural protection during construction (thus enabling incremental growth), the reliance on the more advanced of conventional masonry materials rather than the now impractical electrolytic sea accretion technology, and perhaps most importantly the notion of Aquarius as a way of inhabiting the sea rather than a single specific structural design. In the sub-articles in the section we'll discuss several different specific design concepts. But they are all quite similar in nature in that they produce essentially the same type of 'organic' (be that in a functional or aesthetic sense) structure and they are non-specific about the end physical form of a marine colony since we now understand that, as an emergent phenomenon, a community must evolve its ultimate form on its own and must perpetually evolve to exist.
Because the rough general characteristics of the colony are likely to be quite similar regardless of specific structural technique and because our choice of building technology does influence some functional options, there are some things we can say about the rough organization of a marine colony independent of its design. The full scale marine colony has certain limits on its choice of architecture imposed chiefly by the need of large scale structure, the need to create its own sheltered water environments for areas close to the waterline, and because of a competition for space between human beings and the naturalistic environment of parkland they would desire for practical and aesthetic reasons. In essence, the marine colony is an arcology in the form of an artificial landscape at the boundary of the marine, plant, and human habitats, ideally merging them without conflict. This landscape analogy is useful because it offers us a language for talking about the major elemental features common to the marine colony regardless of structural technology. These break-down as follows;
Mountain: a primary land form of the colony, usually central and singular but in some colonies multiple and of different heights and shapes. The original Aquarius design concept was based on just such a primary form. The mountain is usually a hollow structure, housing a central core atrium that serves as a key public space and commercial center.
Ridge: a descending projection of a mountain which bridges two mountains or descends to surround a valley or lagoon. Like mountains, ridges are also hollow, their spaces merging with the core atriums of mountains and serving as main interior avenues. Formed as a complete circle, it would produces a variation of a mountain called a caldera; a bowl-shaped valley surrounded by a primary mountain and used where a community wishes to retain something of the original Chinese Mansion organization of early Seed settlements.
Valley: a bowl-shaped space surrounded by ridges usually descending to the base platform level at the water's edge. Used to create a large mostly flat exposed area for farming, parkland, or recreation.
Lagoon: a roughly similar form to the valley except that it descends to water level, creating a sheltered lagoon or bay with an optional opening to the sea at one or more points. Some may be 'satellite' lagoons, a low ridge created in a loop serving primarily as a breakwater which may or may not be connected to the body of the colony. Some settlements may wish to duplicate the original Aquarius layout with a satellite breakwater ridge surrounding the whole main body of the colony, allowing its entire perimeter to serve as a low waterfront lagoon. This may also be achieved by a kind of spiral shaped ridge projection of the body of the colony. These, however, would not be practical to implement in intermediate stages of growth. Lagoons will often be dedicated to a specific use; mariculture, port facilities, recreation. Size and number will vary with the relative demand for space for such applications. Some lagoons may even be created to serve as launch and splash-down areas for spacecraft.
Terrace: a stepped edge of a mountain or ridge which serves as a flat gardening area and hosts the facades of habitable spaces. Most habitable space on the full-scale marine colony would be located just inside the edge/surface of the structure, leaving the exterior free for ponds and streams, gardening, and parkland, the plant cover and water features serving as an active component in managing the microclimate of the colony. The full edge of every structural level in a Tectonic style of structure would be continuous terrace space since the overall form is composed entirely of flat deck levels. Other types of structure would have terraces as well as window portals individually and deliberately formed into a non-flat surface sculpted and textured to emulate natural rock. Thus terraces would have a more free-form shape and be discontinuous, varied in level, and interspersed with rock outcroppings and decorative sculptural forms.
Canyons: an articulation of the perimeter edge of a terrace to create a wholly or partially enclosed space used typically as an atrium, a court, or the portal or merged exterior space for an interior avenue. Lower levels of the colony, nearer the perimeter edge, would tend to have much wider terrace spans than elsewhere in the colony, creating large areas of low height sub-deck space that no natural light can reach. Here it is likely for dwellings to be larger as a compensation for their more limited views (and because inhabitants are engaged in industry in spaces adjacent to their homes) and for the terrace perimeter to be articulated with such canyon forms in order to increase the effective use of space. A re-emergence of the Chinese Mansion strategy may appear here in the form of dwellings with large and multiple private atrium spaces cut into the edge of a terrace -a parallel to the sort of individual dwelling organization that may be employed with lunar and planetary habitats underground.
Cliff: a space where a group of terraces have been shortened to form a high vertical step, often formed at the innermost portions of steep valley and lagoon forms. Would most commonly be used with a glazed surface as a large window portal into the core atrium of a ridge or mountain. may also form the basis of waterfalls, which in fact would have a practical function as a way to moderate exterior temperatures in their vicinity.
Pinnacle: a tower-like projection from a ridge or the top of a mountain. Would usually be used as a discrete individual building and designed to appear to emerge from the general landscape. Would often be placed at the end of the ridges forming the mouth of a bay so as to house the equivalent of a light house or a traffic-control center. Would appear at the top of mountains to serve as telecom centers and a symbolic colony command center.
Interior Avenue: there would be no roads on the surface of the marine colony, only walkways and small footpaths. The primary vias for travel around the colony would be internal, through the core atriums hollow spaces of the ridges and mountains as well as interior avenues behind terraces that are particularly distant from the core atriums. Interspersed among these would be vias for the PRT/PPT system provided automated mechanized transport door-to-door. Relying largely on light from heliostats and light pipes and air conditioning provided by OTEC chill-water, the interior avenues would function as very large corridors suitable for electric or human powered service vehicles to travel and flanked by the back entrances of individual dwellings on the outer side and service facilities, safety stations, and PRT access terminals on the inner side. Some may be several storeys high and may be interspersed with small lounges, atriums, indoor gardens, and different indoor recreational facilities. Some may merge with exterior walkways to form transit paths that run alternately inside and out. In general, and with the exception of deep interior spaces, virtually every point on the colony would be accessible both by external and internal vias of some kind.
Quays: perimeter extensions formed from simple platforms in rectilinear forms. Used in branching networks to create industrial facilities, ship berths, airstrips and VTOL pads, and intensive farming facilities at the perimeter of a colony. Would generally be flat with one or two three storey structural levels.
Satellites: independent platform structures in either simple rectilinear forms or the more usual organic style of colony structure. Would be used for various facilities which are desired to be kept at some distance due to hazard or noise, such as airports, launch facilities, hazardous materials plants or storage, orbital power rectenna arrays, etc. They may also be used as self-mobile breakwaters to shelter the openings of bays or create sheltered construction zones. Would also be used as new Seed settlements for later generation colonies or specialty recreation facilities. They might also be produced as a turn-key product; ready-to-inhabit marine settlements that can self-transport to a customer destination.
Thus we can imagine any possible form of a marine colony as some combinations of these basic physical elements. In the sample colony development scenario in the Aquarius main article we describe one likely configuration of these elements in the form of a flower-formed colony where the central mountain is surrounded by radial 'petals' of alternating lagoons and valleys, these given different functions for farming, parkland, mariculture, shipping, and recreation and varying in their individual area according to the demand for that type of space. Over its life a colony may evolve through many forms, may break-up into separate communities or reforms from others. With the eventual advent of NanoFoam such evolution may become spontaneous, the physical structure of the colony becoming self-fabricating and self-intelligent, physically restructuring itself in response to human interaction and the environment. But even then these basic structural elements will likely remain the same.
- Life In Aquarius
- Seed Settlement Design Concepts
- Aquarian Intermediate Stages
- Aquarian Mariculture and Farming
- Aquarian Transportation
- Aquarius Supporting Technologies