The Project


Land is an important part of the world’s real estate economy and plays a role in architectural and commerce development.In our new project we have been working on a design which in fact creates land for use near coastal areas, where most major cities are located.

The ability to create land makes it easier to produce new development without the need to adhere to hefty land costs and also makes it easier to build homes and offices within close proximity to your CBD (central business district).

BIE Design has accomplished a new design theory where by, we have created what could be described as, a floating city. Or what we have aptly called… an “aquatropolis”.

Its primary aim is to provide space for commerce, retail and living space for people who need to be close to their major city, but without hindering the environment of its inhabitancy.

BIE designs, design ethos, is very much about working with the environment and becoming part of it, rather than just simply building on top of it.

So far this is what we have done, but in accordance to our research it appears that the design itself is constantly evolving as our understanding of engineering, ergonomics and marine biology becomes ever broader.


Project Brief

We are to design and develop a utilitarian quality, multi modular vessel for the transportation of goods, services and members of the public. With the intentions of creating a carbon neutral environment that considers the use of energy from construction, to assembly, through to actual use.

There will be a central hub in this system that provides power for the other nodes and will endeavour to include modularity into its design ethos.

The system should be self sustaining and provide a utility that assists users and its community.

Along with the design ethic of modularity, we want the primary nodes to be suitable for both commercial uses, retail use and business recreation.

The water borne vessel is to support the interests of the hotel industry on the ever expanding United Arab Emirates Coastline.



Progression has been made within the propulsion research and hull development programme. Additional research has also been completed in construction materials and a sub project has been launched in finding a suitable means of attaining energy from waste.


Key Dates

Monday 20th April (presentation of the project outlining the brief and current research topics)



In accordance to this project we have collaborated with the following companies

  • Nakheel (UAE)

  • Jameirah (UAE)

  • RSD yacht design (UK)

  • Pilkinton Glass ltd (UK)

  • Solar Lab Research centre (UK – London)

  • Climate Change Solutions ltd (UK – Coventry)

  • Coventry University (Consultations with students studying biology and Natural Disaster Management.)


Corporate Brief

Opportunities: The United Arab Emirates coast line is the one of the fastest developing coast lines in the world, with sun, shopping, sport and safety being one of the 5 ingredients for the booming tourist industry in the UAE.

It also holds hospitality to all other visitors and offers a relatively cosmopolitan attitude to the integration of other nations. This has also lead to it having one of the fastest developing leisure and tourist industries in the world.

However it is also a multifaceted country in terms of economy and retains a lot its wealth in both commerce and leisure. One may assume that this is due to its central location, linking eastern worlds with western.

In the world of today there is also a big pressure on designers and engineers to facilitate ecological and sustainable design as part of their work ethic. Therefore such a pressure has also been fed into our design, especially considering the current electrical and other energy requirements already placed on the UAE. Thus an opportunity has arisen for us to look at technologies, materials and construction methods which reduces our carbon footprint and reduces the environmental impact during use and decommissioning. Offering “Green thought” through the whole life cycle of the primary module and its constituents.

Furthermore to this environmental concern, it is apparent that Abu Dubai has a very large interest in sustainable cities. Such as the MASDAR project which will become an exemplar to the rest of the world: zero emissions, zero waste, zero fossil fuel consumption (

This intriguing land also has a wealth of hotels and other recreational facilities of which all have some degree of water sport facilities or aquatic transportation. Like most of Dubai, a lot of the buildings are situated around the coast with the more expensive properties having their own beaches. No wonder why “Jameirah & Nakheel” are developing reclaimed land deposits in order to increase the UAE’s coastal area.

Reclaiming land therefore seems to provide the UAE new land in which place high value buildings and structures to continue its growing real estate industry.

The UAE is now becoming a common place for businesses to develop thanks to its high level of connectivity to the rest of the world and the low tax economy. Locations such as Abu Dubai, also have a high level of commerce, which in the current economic climate, is more stable than that of the tourist industry.

(Overview of the UAE:

Other major resort leaders also operate in the UAE : Crowne Plaza, Dusit, Hilton, Howard Johnson, Hyatt Regency, Inter-Continental, Le Meridien, Marriot, Ramada, Renaissance, Ritz-Carlton, Rotana, Sheraton, Shangri-La

(source:, thus offering a huge tourist potential for such a vessel that has been outlined in the brief.

In accordance to the ( economy of Abu Dubai, it appears that there are lots opportunities of the development of waterborne transportation for this new and upcoming city, due to its rapid increase in population which has led to further problems of congestion and car parking spaces within the city. A lack of comprehensive, reliable and frequent public transport has led to almost complete dependence on taxis and privately owned vehicles, although this is not a fit solution for an already overloaded infrastructure.

In the world, over $1 trillion USD is invested in this place of the world making it one of the wealthiest cities, ranking third with Luxemburg and Norway. Thus the economics will be stable for such a large scale project to take place.



  • The shier size of the projects will make it difficult to source the construction materials needed to make the structure. Furthermore, the size would also mean that we will need relatively deep ports and prevent us from running aground.

  • The large amount of CO2 produced when constructing the concrete hull will go against an eco friendly approach to this project and will also be a breach to our intended brief.

  • Attaining a large enough amount of energy to run the system will also be difficulty and may require support from the mainland grid.

  • Refrigeration and keeping the climate inside of the hub as cool as possible despite the mean temperature of 24degrees centigrade outside.

  • To produce a floating city that is carbon neutral both in the cities construction, assembly and use will be a pioneering engineering endeavour.

  • Carbon, solar thermal and water management will be a key role to the construction of this vessel. Although it’s moveable nature would provide problems for these technologies to operate in harmony.

  • Waste management will also be a key issue for this institution. Control, refinement and processing of such waste will be required in order to make minimal impact to the environment as possible.

  • Providing living space, commercial space and recreational space all within the same vicinity.




  • From our consultation with other companies such as RSD Yacht Design, Nakheel and BAP development , that we realised other companies have also attempted the idea of a floating city yet none have been made due to the financial and engineering difficulties that such a project would accrue. It is for this reason that no such project has been tempted.

  • Furthermore the propulsion for a floating city may require a significant amount of energy and sizable control system would be required in order to control the movements of the vessel.

  • Evidently the environmental conditions of the environment will also pose a potential problem for this vessel such arid conditions, wind storms, salt water, high winds and high seas may also provide problems for the materials that we select and therefore will need to be durable and strong enough in order to survive in such an environment . (Temperatures go from 10degrees to 45 degrees centigrade a total of 35 degree variance)

  • Due to the size of the vessel, we can see that there will also be problems concerning long shore drift, (long shore drift: geological term used to describe the movement of sediment along the shore). Due to the large size of the hull it is possible that the structure will disrupt the natural flow of water through the deltas that exist around the Abu Dubai area. Therefore th structure may adversely constrict the flow of sediment to certain locations, creating protrusions on the shore which may be undesirable for settlers but also decrease the size of other beaches further up stream. Consequently we will need to design a hull that allows water to easily flow around the large structure, to prevent such large scale environmental occurrences from happening.


Project aims and objectives

To produce a sustainable floating city that will adhere to the locations needs and become a unique development area for commerce, retail and tourism. A city that contains its own waste, and generates its own electricity, in an effort to become carbon neutral and works with its environment to become an independent system.