Finalist – 2010 Skyscraper Competition
William Fong, Joshua Loke, Livee Tan
With an average ground level of 1.5 m from the sea level, Maldives is the lowest county on the planet, with its highest point topping off at only 2.3 m above sea level.
The country is in a dire situation as sea levels are set to rise to 59 cm above the sea level in the year 2100. This rate would probably be accelerated if natural disasters are to be accounted for. The 2004 tsunami affected many of Maldives’ inhabited islands, where only 9 islands managed to escape flooding. 57 islands faced serious damage to its infrastructure, 14 needed to be completely evacuated and 6 were decimated.
Physical destruction aside, the flooding of Maldives would also signal the obliteration of the proud Maldivian culture, as well as a complete loss of her people’s sense of self and sovereignty.
While plans have been made to buy land in India, Sri Lanka and Australia to keep the country going, this essentially makes the people of Maldives strangers in strange lands. It is perhaps conceivable that this nation of 400,000 people can live in vertical structures floating in its own waters. That way, the legacy and memory of the Maldives can live on, albeit in a vastly different iteration. At the same time, the republic in this new form can continue to be sustained by its famed tourism industry.
The Floating States of Maldives can be recognized still as a series of islands, but are essentially engineering marvels of buoyancy and height. The network of towers soar to a maximum of 1000m above sea level and their keels dive 1000, below, accommodating floor areas of up to 56 times that of the combined Petronas Twin Towers, while maintaining the density of its capital city, Male. As the population increases, more modules can be added to the structure, increasing the towers’ heights and expanding the network, like land reclamation, only floating.
Thus, we have a dialogue between the tallest and the lowest in the world, side by side; looking down at the remnants of its previous generation of dwellings, while proudly looking upwards to the new age of urban lifestyles. The Floating States of Maldives is a new paradigm of new sovereign nations.