Yves Behar Unveils Concept Design for Fabien Cousteau’s Landmark Underwater Research Station

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Yves Behar Unveils Concept Design for Fabien Cousteau's Landmark Underwater Research Station

Yves Behar and fuseproject created the concept design for the world’s most advanced underwater scientific research station and habitat, a project from renowned ocean explorer and conservationist Fabien Cousteau. The station​ is conceived as the underwater version of the International Space Station; it will be a platform for global collaboration amongst the world’s leading researchers, academics, government agencies, and corporations to advance science to benefit the future of the planet.

Fabien Cousteau’s PROTEUS will house state-of-the-art labs with the latest equipment – freezers, microscopes, and technology – allowing for occupants to complete years worth of research in days. It will be able to house more people – up to 12 – than any underwater station ever built, and for longer, more than 31 days.

“PROTEUS extends the legacy of my grandfather, Jacques Cousteau, and embodies his famous quote, ‘People protect what they love, they love what they understand, and they understand what they are taught,'” Cousteau stated. “Until more people feel they have access to the ocean and can understand what it can provide and how they are connected to it, change cannot be enacted. The more we learn about our human connection to the ocean, the more we can grapple with what we need to know, make better decisions to secure a sustainable future to pass on to the next generations. With the aid of new technologies and through carrying and honoring the knowledge of those who came before us, we will build PROTEUS to be almost completely sustainable.”

PROTEUS, envisioned as the first of a series, will be located off the coast of Curacao, in a biodiverse, Marine Protected Area, in the Caribbean, at a depth of approx. 60 feet. “At 4,000 square feet, PROTEUS will be three or four times the size of any previously built submarine habitats, accommodating up to twelve people at once,” said Behar. “Attached to the ocean floor by legs designed to adapt to the variable terrain, the design is based on the concept of a spiral. A series of modular pods are attached to the main body of PROTEUS and accommodate a variety of uses such as laboratories, sleeping quarters, bathrooms, medical bays, life support systems and storage. The largest pod contains a moon pool allowing submersibles to dock. These pods can be attached or detached to adapt to the specific needs of the users over time.

“The two levels of PROTEUS are connected by a spiral ramp to encourage physical activity and movement for the inhabitants. The ramp connects the main spaces within PROTEUS which are designed to feel inviting and comfortable, an approach which is a departure from most facilities of this nature which typically forego comfort and a sense of home in favor of cold utility. These common spaces include a living room, kitchen, dining, and work areas. PROTEUS will also have the first underwater greenhouse so residents can grow fresh plant food in order to solve the challenge of not being able to cook with open flames.

“Two of the other biggest challenges to staying underwater for longer spans of time is the social isolation and lack of natural light. PROTEUS​’s central spaces will provide physical comfort, social connection and professional collaboration. Additionally, the station will be designed to gather as much light as possible from windows, on the top, and around the sides of the structure.”

Images: Courtesy of fuseproject

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