Belgian ecological architect Vincent Callebaut, known for his futuristic-like ecodistrict designs that places an emphasis on sustainability, recently unveiled his experimental landscape design that aims to restore the natural environment in Seoul, South Korea.
Titled "Manta Ray," which references the hyperbolic geometry of a manta ray -- this floating ferry terminal proposal is suspended above the marina and adjacent gardens, that utilizes marshland plants to naturally purify the Han River in South Korea and produces 100% of its energy needs through renewable sources.
Offering elevated views across the Han River and Yeouido Park as well -- a large recreational area located on Yeouido Island in the central part of Seoul -- the design is divided into three levels.
On the lower docks are floating steel dikes that protect the marina that is also integrated with equipment to charge boats with water, electricity, and biofuels. At the top of the manta ray-shaped structure is an observation deck with a rooftop orchard, which also houses the reception, leisure areas, food courts, exhibition space, and educational spaces. Additionally, tree-shaped structures made from cross-laminated timber sourced from “eco-responsible Korean forests” crown the building.
With the floating terminal producing 100% of its own energy, solar power is harvested from 49,000 square feet of rooftop solar cells installed on the laminated glass facade, as well as 37,300 square feet of opaque photothermal panels. The 52 CLT trees are topped with wind turbines, while organic and biodegradable waste from Yeouido Park would be collected for use at a biomethanation plant to provide energy for "Manta Ray."
“Seoul is finding new ways to invest in this kind of soft infrastructure, helping to foster social cohesion with a greater sense of community among diverse socio-economic groups,” Vincent Callebaut Architectures expressed. “With an eye toward increasing equitable access for everyone to these new facilities, this floating vessel is an example of biophilic and resilient architecture, demonstrating that it is possible to build with nature rather than against it, by respecting the life of the river and allowing the local fauna and flora to flourish. The “Manta Ray” project promotes the permeability and renaturalization of river banks in cities with rivers running through them. The banks become new playgrounds for social innovation, and for urban “consumers-actors” seeking to promote urban farming, agroforestry and permaculture. The goal is to make them less vulnerable to climate change, and to the subsequent dramatic flood and urban heat island events witnessed over the past decades.”