22 November 2010

An Early Seastead Design

WHEN the continents of the world have become overcrowded and trans-oceanic airplane travel is as common as travel by steamers at present, we may see the establishment of huge mid-ocean cities such as is shown in the above drawing, which illustrates the plans recently made by Leon Feoquinos, a French engineer of Marseilles.

The foundation is to be a network of steel sections, held together with cables, to act as a gigantic breakwater against the heavy seas. In the center there will be a large enclosed harbor that will serve as a landing place for hydroplanes and a port for ocean liners. Later other features will be added, such as a spacious hotel, gaming casino, and four huge towers. _ModernMechanix
A robust design for the breakwater and flotation structures will be the determining physical factor for whether a seastead will survive in an open ocean environment. Economic, political, and military factors may prove more important than issues of physical design and robust resilience to the elements, in the long run, however.

The 1931 French designer envisioned a steel girder and cable design, but it is unlikely that the materials technology of the age would have been capable of standing up to the rigours of the open seas. If nothing else, such a structure would have likely been sunk by the allies during WWII, to prevent German-occupied France from using it as a launch pad for attacks against North America.

It appears to me that the Chinese have missed a gigantic opportunity for building a fleet of seasteads, for purposes of trade and power projection. Sophisticated seasteads would require even more sophisticated shipyards for construction. During the 1990s and 2000s, only the Chinese were growing quickly enough to justify the construction of such a super-shipyard. But once built, such a yard could spin out seasteads like ocean-going frisbees.

With the coming economic and governmental problems soon to descend upon China, it is likely the country has missed its chance.


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Blogger Loren said...

You're picture isn't working.

Monday, 22 November, 2010  
Blogger neil craig said...

More likely sunk by the Germans to prevent it being used by the Allies as an air base to close the Mid Atlantic Gap where submarines could act freely against convoys without fear of air attacks. Or if defended by the Allies (probably Free French) could have taken 6 months off the war by winning the battle of the Atlantic.

Thursday, 25 November, 2010  

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