Arcology is essentially a mega city that packs a ginormous population into one hyperstructure – think the Death Star, Zion in The Matrix or the Anthill of Antz fame. Now, a real-life group of ambitious designers has taken their looming pyramidal arcology and placed it smack dab on the Mississippi River as a proposal for rebuilding New Orleans. This 30 million square foot beast-building with an array of green features is aptly named NOAH (Get it? Noah and the Arcology?), and is meant to house 40,000 residents.
NOAH, which stands for New Orleans Arcology Habitat, boasts 20,000 residential units as well as 3 hotels and 1,500 timeshare units. But that’s not all. Also housed within the triangular walls of this one-stop-building will be commercial space (stores), parking for 8,000 cars, cultural spaces, public works, schools, an administrative office, and a health care facility. This means that you could live your whole life within NOAH if you wanted to. Although that doesn’t sound very fun, it may be prudent, since NOAH has been specifically designed to withstand the hurricanes that have ravaged the city on the Mississippi in the past. Its floating base and open-wall structure are meant to allow “all severe weather /winds to in effect blow through the structure in any direction with the minimum of massing interference.”
In terms of sustainability, we were at first skeptical as we are with most supermassive structures, but the fact that so many inhabitants are meant to occupy the space offsets NOAH’s giant footprint. Another plus is that NOAH will supposedly “eliminate the need for cars within the urban structure” via vertical and horizontal internal electric transport links, creating a pedestrian-friendly community. Other eco-friendly elements include secured wind turbines, fresh water recovery and storage systems, a passive glazing system, sky garden heating/cooling vents, grey water treatment, solar array banding panels, and river based water turbines. And if NOAH truly is hurricane-proof, that will make the city more sustainable than any wind turbines or solar panels ever could.