Bringing together technical experts in different fields to address issues of global importance, Fabien Cousteau, first grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center (FCOLC) announced the inception of PROTEUS, “the world’s most advanced underwater scientific research station and habitat to address humanity’s most critical concerns”. Conceived as the underwater version of the International Space Station, the project is designed by Yves Behar and fuseproject.
The largest and most technologically advanced underwater station ever built, will put in place state-of-the-art labs, and generate a livable space for scientists to work for long periods of time. Designed by Yves Behar and his team at fuseproject, the project is a permanent underwater station that will advance scientific and oceanic research. In fact, PROTEUS enables the discovery of new species of marine life, creating a better understanding of how climate change affects the Ocean and allowing for testing of advanced technologies for green power, aquaculture, and robotic exploration.
At 4,000 square feet, PROTEUS will be three or four times the size of any previously built submarine habitats. Open to hosting academics, private companies, scientists, and NGOs that are involved in ocean exploration and research and development, PROTEUS can hold up to 12 people at the same time, for a 30-day period, more than any underwater station ever built.
As our life support system, the Ocean is indispensable to solving the planet’s biggest problems. Challenges created by climate change, rising sea levels, extreme storms and viruses represent a multi-trillion-dollar risk to the global economy. PROTEUS, contemplated as the first in a network of underwater habitats, is essential to driving meaningful solutions to protect the future of our planet. The knowledge that will be uncovered underwater will forever change the way generations of humans live up above. -- Fabien Cousteau.
Envisioned as the first of a series, PROTEUS will be located off the coast of Curacao, in a biodiverse, Marine Protected Area, in the Caribbean, at a depth of approx. 60 feet. Built to last for a certain number of years engineers deem safe and feasible, the Marine Research Platform will enable the advancement of science and oceanic research, focusing also on creating a big impact in ocean conservation, using and promoting renewable clean energy, and food sustainability.
“As we look for design solutions to protect ourselves and our world from increasingly harsh climates, it is imperative that we first design new ways to study the sea”, states Yves Béhar. Based on the concept of a spiral, the structure is attached to the ocean floor by legs designed to adapt to the variable terrain. “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”.
Connected by a spiral ramp, the main spaces of PROTEUS, spread on two levels, include a living room, kitchen, dining, and work areas. Comprising the first underwater greenhouse, residents can grow fresh plant food in order to solve the challenge of not being able to cook with open flames. Addressing the biggest challenges of staying underwater for longer spans of time, PROTEUS puts in place central spaces that can 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.