Want to sink some money into the latest Dubai folly? A Polish architect has served up a scheme for an underwater tennis center off the coast of Dubai, now he’s fishing for investors to make tennis beneath the ocean a reality in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“This will be something original. This should be somewhere where there is the tradition of tennis. Dubai is perfect for this idea,” Krzysztof Kotala told Arabian Business, “There is no investor but I would like to get interest as I think it is a good idea.” The architect from Warsaw-based 8+8 Concept Studio believes his design “combines the best of technology, ecology and sport”” and is commercially promising.
A number of developers have proposed underwater projects within the UAE, but none have yet to “break sand”. Last year, Sony Corporation set up a temporary underwater tech shop four meters below the sea surface near the environmentally egregious World Islands in Dubai, but that was more promotional stunt than fixed infrastructure, and its impact to the seabed, water and marine life was minuscule because the installation was short-lived.
There’s been talk of submerged hotels, and smaller specialty projects such as the floating majlis (traditional places to congregate and discuss tribal business) but – to really mash metaphors – none have gotten off the ground. That doesn’t stop new concepts from continually making big news splashes.
Kleindienst Group, the developer of The Heart of Europe islands ( an expansion associated with Dubai’s The World), recently announced details about its underwater villa project named the Floating Seahorse Villas at the Dubai International Boat Show. Anchored near “Europe”, just a short boat ride from the Dubai coastline, these 42 three-story houseboats feature a fully submerged lower level.
The lower level bedroom and bathroom will command underwater views of the surrounding coral reef. The upper deck is ideal for parties, offering a kitchenette and mini-bar for alfresco dining. Top floor also holds a glass-bottomed Jacuzzi, which should make for interesting viewing for anyone lounging in the room below. The 160 m2 villas will cost around $1.36 million USD.
Fanciful and fun ideas, unorthodox to be sure. But what about gauging environmental impacts during construction and – more importantly – throughout the projects’ life cycle? The answer is as clear as Arabian Gulf waters: there is no environmentally positive story to push here.
And, a question to all marine biologists reading this, wouldn’t a floating seahorse be a dead one?
Images from 8+8 Concept Studio and Arabian Business