Skip to navigationSkip to content
Jacques Rougerie Foundation
THE LIFE AQUATIC

A French architect has a vision for a sustainable floating city that looks like a manta ray

By Svati Kirsten Narula

Jacques Rougerie says he has a special affinity for the sea, which makes sense—his life’s work has been designing aquatic architecture. Rougerie’s SeaOrbiter ship, a fantastical roving laboratory that has been described as ”a starship Enterprise for the water,” is currently under construction. And his next design, for a floating city where up to 7,000 ocean-loving humans can live, is an even more extreme demonstration of his passion for the underwater world.

SeaOrbiter®/Jacques Rougerie
The SeaOrbiter, currently under construction.

The manta ray-shaped structure would be called the “City of Mériens”—”mériens” is a word Rougerie came up with himself to describe people who “belong to the sea”.

The platform will reportedly be completely self-sustaining, “running on marine energy and producing no waste whatsoever,” according to architecture blog InHabitat. It’s also supposed to house up to 7,000 people—primarily scientists and students investigating the ocean,”—and will be “equipped with laboratories, classrooms, living quarters, and space for leisure activities and sports.”

It certainly sounds far-fetched, but if the SeaOrbiter project is completed successfully, then who’s to say the City of Mériens won’t be possible someday, too? Rougerie, in a recent radio interview (French), described himself as a “pragmatic dreamer.”