When the Kevin Costner-led action flick Waterworld came out in 1995, moviegoers got a sneak peek at what the world might be like should Earth’s polar ice caps completely melt. Fast forward some 21 years to today, and the San Francisco-based design firm Terry & Terry Architecture seems to have taken this seemingly fictitious storyline very seriously. With a project a projected dubbed the Tidal House — no, it’s not a home strictly playing Jay Z’s streaming music service — Terry & Terry Architecture appear to have envisioned a world where rising sea levels are as commonplace as, well, rising sea levels.
Designed to ebb and flow with various tides, Terry & Terry Architecture’s ultimate goal with Tidal House is to have the ability to create entire communities of these homes in a response to environmental changes. The firm adopted the same kind of tech native to offshore drilling units, meaning Tidal House will have the option of moving as necessary, using a retractable set of independent legs which level the device after it moves. Moreover, owners have the ability to set the Tidal House as close to the surface of the water as they want.
As seen in the original renderings, the Tidal House’s spherical roof allows it to stand up to gusty ocean winds while also providing owners sufficient surface area to install solar panels. According to the Terry & Terry Architecture website, several of the homes can be connected each other to form the aforementioned communities while remaining tethered to a host dock. Homes can connect or disconnect as the owners please — for instance, if the environment shifts and they prefer a calmer (or more hectic) area of the ocean to reside.
Though a mere concept at this point, Terry & Terry Architecture’s Tidal House is a theoretical solution to a potentially growing issue. The polar ice caps won’t be gone tomorrow, but the fact that so many designers and architects are imagining solutions like these speaks volumes about the possibility. For now, it’s fun to gaze at the artistic renderings and envision what it must’ve been like to be the Mariner.