Architect Jacques Rougerie -an expert when it comes to space and underwater structures- has designed the soon-to-be first underwater museum. It will be located off the coast of Egypt, near the new Library of Alexandria, where Cleopatra once had a palace on an island in one of the largest human-made bays in the world back in the day, submerged by earthquakes in the 4th century.
The ruins were discovered years ago, and include several sphinxes, statues, roman and greek shipwrecks and pieces believed to be from the Pharos of Alexandria lighthouse (one of the seven ancient wonders of the world).
This ruins haven’t been moved, since it would be a tremendous effort that could damage the ruins in the process. Also, it follows the 2001 UNESCO convention for the preservation of underwater heritage.
With that in mind, the museum is designed as both inland and submarine. The building will have four tall structures shaped like the sails of fellucas, the traditional sailboats used in the Nile. From the inland building, underwater fiberglass tunnels will take visitors to structures where they can view antiquities still lying on the seabed.
Sounds like a big challenge, but since the bay is only about 16 to 20 feet (5 to 6 meters) deep, the museum will not face strong water pressure on its walls, something that makes this idea more feasible. And with construction expected to take only three years, we could have this new concept of building ready pretty soon. But first, they need to secure funding.
Seen at National Geographic.
Actual ruins on the seabed: