Gyre creates a new class of Eco-tourism by bringing scientists and vacationers together to understand what is the least known environment on our planet, the ocean. As much as a skyscraper is an economical method of reducing humankind’s footprint on land, Gyre goes a step further by juxtaposing that footprint to the ocean, and is perhaps its greenest feature. Its unique design permits the simultaneous application of wind, solar, and tidal energy generation technologies thereby making it truly ‘off-grid’. Peaking at a depth of 400m, its ample space provides for a comfortable living and working environment, including space for shops, restaurants, gardens, and recreation.
The center piece of the design features a double-hulled vortex with both hulls being clad in reinforced glass, where each of the floor levels are essentially a layering of concentric rings ranging in size from 30,000 m² down to 600 m² Inclinators riding along the inner structural ribs provide for vertical/diagonal transportation between floors. Total floor area of the entire structure (levels, radial arms, barriers) is approximately 212,000 m² (or roughly 40 football fields). The Gyre’s radial arms feature a pedestrian upper level and a transit system on the lower level to access to the outer protective barriers. The barriers create an inner harbor and port of approximately 1.25 km in diameter, accommodating the needs of even the world’s largest ships.
In addition to using vertical axis wind turbines, electrical energy is also collected by solar means. Two applications of solar glazing are used: the first, a semi-transparent solar window is used facing the open-air, inner vortex; the second, a glass with a printed array of solar cells spaced to create partial shading, is used as a solar pergola or roof material. Furthermore, underwater nacelle’s function both as tidal generators when the structure is anchored and as thrusters for propulsion when Gyre is under way. The structure manages undersea pressures and stresses by virtue of its shape. Rainwater is harvested in the inner vortex and gravity fed to the water purification system at the base of the Gyre. Mechanical systems and emergency freshwater storage basins are in the deepest portion of the structure.
The first two levels of the Gyre’s vortex are dedicated to circulation, community gatherings, restaurants and commerce. Intermediate levels accommodate long-term residents, oceanic experts, hotel guests and crew quarters totaling as many as 2000 people. The deepest levels are dedicated to a scientific observatory for oceanographic research and an Interpretive Center for public discovery of the depths of the ocean.