Seasteading Debate


| Stages of the #FloatingCity | Ocean Colonization | Space Colonization | Long Term Human Survival

On July 30 Wilfried Ellmer wrote

@Matias, in the aquaculture thread you give a glimps how pioneering aquaculture on the open ocean could look like, an ocean sphere as habitat drifting along a truss cement composite fish cage sphere in open ocean.

The most important part of the whole seasteading discussion is probably how you can place humans in a hostile ambient as the high seas constitute it.

That makes seasteading a subchapter of the bigger topic of “settling in unfamiliar spaces” .

When settling in unusual spaces humans need a protective skin around them. In our cities the protective skin that shields us from hostile climate are the buildings we live in.

As said the most effective way to create “protective skin” around a contolled ambient bubble is a sphere.
At land we can not build spheres as the gravity makes sphere shaped building sites expensive.

In weight neutral ambients like the watermantle of the planet we can do spheres very easyly.

In some ways settling in the ocean is a excellent baby step to test and learn the settlement of outer space.

To picture this process…

All starts with a plate shape in a graving dock that gets floated out early when it still has relative low weight and draft.

The next step is a what we call a “plate seastead” something that has the appearance of football stadion free floating on the watersurface - in this phase the venture is already in business with shops and a community living on it. It is floating real estate in a prime location near a existing city center.

In the next step the plate seastead builds up the external walls and puts on weight to become an “ocean sphere” (Artwork Matias Volco )

When the sphere is finished it sits deep in the water and displays an optical appearance of something like this. A sphere segment proyecting out of the water, immune to Draupner Wave impacts.

Natural sunlight goes into the inside of the sphere over one or several “oculums” small opening on the apex that flood the insight with daylight a architectonical feature that is well known and prooven since roman times.

This interference free space bubble on the ocean has a maintenance free service life of at least 200 years and a expected lifespan of some 2000 years . So it is the fundament you can build New-VENICE and New-Atlantis on.

In the long term humanity will start to build living space pockets in sphere shape in the most hostile ambients…

ocean-sphere-living-space-breakaway-civilization-yook3™-.jpg691x382 40 KB

It is part of the human transition. Settling the watermantle of the planet which provides 99% of the untapped space volume we have at our disposal for now is just the next logical step of “city building”.

A triangular floating harbor as a starting point to "spin off " ocean spheres…

Ocean spheres in two variations : The oceanic fish cage (weight neutral cement composite truss structure) to feed humanity and the oceanic sphere habitat (shell structure) for housing purpose. In the ocean sphere concept the size does not really matter, even a 10m diameter sphere (family home size) housing a single ocean frontier familiy is Draupner Wave impact safe.

For those who are interested in more insight about the ocean sphere concept check here.1

While the transition of the ocean sphere goes along the above picture series from a relative small plate to a city sized venture, the transition of the ramform is a bit different.

It starts with a very small light honeycomb structure triangle.

you can picture it like the pilot project test piece we did in Cartagena.

This piece then grows in a continous growth process to something like that.

what is a family house sized floating structure that allows easy access to the water surface.

The growth can keep going on in this protected stern area where additional building cells like in the picture above are added to expand the structure.

In a analogy to a “matrix printing process” where the “drop of material” is the construction base unit. In this process the “cell” is the construction base unit. The cell size can vary from shoe-box size to shower cell size - it depends what is convenient in the logistics process.

In this pilot for example we work with a phone cell sized base unit .

Don Arturo is building the cell up in a matrix printing process where the material is placed by hand with a teaspoon instead of a nozzle by a matrix printer. In a Country where workhours are cheap and workforce available this is a good alternative.

As the ramform unit grows the arms need to be divided to work in train configuration . This allows long ocean waves to pass trough without creating hog and sag forces.

Matias Volco pictures this division of arms in a train configuration here converting the second division into a boat dock marina and a cargo loading area.

Now this thing althoug it is not yet a seastead with a complex free society on board is certainly already a marina with a couple of apartments that do not limit the living experience to boaters and yachties who have no problem with their living room moving with the waves.

It is something that is already attractive for normal people who might consider it an alternative to living in a shorside apartment.

The venture now has a size and outfit that can be condidered a sea based real estate alternative .

Once you have this big grey bow tipe structure taking the waves and keeping them out of the protected stern area - the question if the venture is in high or low wave ambient becomes less important - the floating city starts to create its own protected bay.

So you are ready for the next phase of development.

Picture it something like this:

There is a light dome shell cluster in the background that is protected by the ramform in front . This bubble cluster development has already an open central space in form of a public park, so living there is very similar to living in a land city. Like old venice had (and still has) its economic bases in the mediterranean trade streams New Venice will work along the lines of its historic example but solve the bottleneck of technological limitations . (limited space in the swamp, rotting foundations).

The next development step is New Atlantis.

A floating sea city that holds up the ideals of science, and enlightenment, in the sense of Sir Francis Bacon´s Novel…

The picture of Matias Volco is acurate. 20 story high buildings are feasible in the city center of a seastar concept island with the technology we have at hand already. A Draupner Wave would it barley make half up one of the arms … The height of the ships is about 15 m.

At the oceanic business alliance the business plan is this:

It is a plan that has a clear setup for each step from a few building cells on the watersurface to the creation of New Atlantis.

At the moment we have Phase 1 (blue) completed we have tested all that needs testing and we are now in a position to have a Phase 1 investor conversation with effect B.

Our lead Architect Matias Volco has phase 2 on the drawing board. A revolution in the real estate market - going oceanic… we already achieved the key goal of phase 2 to make floating real estate more affordable than land based real estate.

Sea based cities type New Atlantis will be connected by tubular hyperloop connections. These hyperloop tracks can be fabricated in floating building sites in tracks of a mile or so and get installed very fast with the same technology that is already in use for submarine pipelines.

Floating Cities type New Atlantis will run a extremly fast internet that pluggs directly into the transoceanic glasfiber infrastructure.

Pacific Ring Weave

To help the auditorium to understand how light things built in advanced cement fiber composite can be, i made this video of a small show piece in ultralight cement fiber composite. It has the aspect of concrete due to the cement binder but it is obvious that it does not have the weight of concrete.

While in this video the fiber composite is optimized to be light and strong, in the poor man´s floating island pilot project (see below) , we put emphasis on making a fiber composite island as economic as possible.

There is also this wrong preception around that some kind of form is required. That is a perception error.

Some of the TSI threads assume that making box shapes creates a forming advantage that turns into a cost advantage over rounded shapes.

In ultralight cement composite building you have “freeforming” that means the build does not require a form and there is no “cast process” involved. You do not build forms and cast liquid material into them as in off the shelf concrete engineering.

Forming ANY shape is not only possible it is also equally economic in light composite technology . There are no cheap forms and no expensive forms this opens a universe of futuristic shapes that do not only create stunning ambients but also bring up wave impact resistent floating structures.

picture it something like this…

Wave impact resistance is key as long as Draupner Wave impacts are within the "expected ambient parameters


The obvious solution is a “floating bubble cluster structure city” …

Many forum participants just assume that building a floating development goes in two steps - first you build a kind of raft and then you put buildings on top of it.

This is again a concept error.

The most efficient process is to build a “integrated structure” instead a “land building on a platform”.

While things are relativly simple for a concrete contractor when it comes to a floating heavy cast structure like Mullberry or Monaco Breakwater, building free formed composite structures requires skills from the Builder. It is not so much about the material - it is about “the builder getting it right” and this means it is about building site management and logistics.

A small single floating home project in light fiber cement composite can be pictured like this:

We call this kind of floating structures C-shells…

They are meant as floating homes for a protected caribbean bay like “laguna de cholon” near Cartagena, and come at a project budget of USD 98 K per unit.

We build them as “next generation” a improved version of the “Navegante Cholon” … which is a boat that is in service as we speak.

at laguna cholon.

What our lead architect Matias Volco has on his drawingboard embraces all the mentioned concepts (and a lot more what is under NDA agreement - and not convenient to vent off in public domain )…


I think we should have the debate over here instead the TSI forum…:slight_smile:


Denifinitely a more appropriate context for phase 2

Matias Volco


Maybe bone structure is a better and easier to understand analogy ?

But it is probably more complicated to bring over the work of osteoblasts than the work of termites…

A osteoblast is a faceless cell that segregates bone structure… harder to relate with than a termite who is at least a critter people can see and watch…

The interresting point in osteoblasts is that they keep bones growing according to the stress they are experimenting. If the bone is in overload some of those microstructures start breaking - osteoblasts detect that “microfractures” , repair them and double them up. So you get a bone structure that is reforced EXACTLY where load bearing capacity is needed.
I assume at Zaha Hadid Architects finite element computer programs are used to solve such complex structures. - Interrestingly osteoblasts get similar results just by detecting stress repair and double up.

Humans do that too but it is apparent only in the microscopic and very large, satellite-picture scales. This is where our communication department obviously needs to focus.

i.e. in a large human colony, when a thoroughfare is overloaded (with traffic, not weight) it breaks and doubles up.


When we notice that is how erosion also works in non living things, we understand the “universality” of this evolutionary strategy.

Yes, computer power can help us simulate this cycles - but it’s not necessary to understand them.


The perfect hexagonal shape of honeycomb cells — once thought to be an incredible feat of math-savvy insects — has now been explained by simple mechanics.

Scientists have marveled at the angular perfection of honeycomb for centuries, but none have been able to clearly describe how it forms. Engineers in the U.K. and China have taken a step forward by showing that the cells actually start off as circles — molded by the shape of a bee’s body — and then flow into a hexagonal pattern seconds later

Using a honeycomb grown at a research facility in Beijing, the researchers were able to carefully ward off the bees and photograph the bare honeycomb seconds after formation, providing the first clear evidence that cells naturally start as circles. They then observed honeybees heating the wax after the initial cell formation — a phenomenon identified in previous studies, but never analyzed in close detail — and found this to be the key step in hexagon-formation.

By heating the cells, the bees cause the wax to become molten and flow like lava. Once the wax starts flowing, the cell walls naturally fall flat and take on the shape of a hexagon, like adjoining bubbles in a bath. This is physically the simplest and most stable way for cylinders to merge, Karihaloo said.