Building an underwater habitat

(Brendon Traxler) #1

I understand that this may not be totally in focus with this groups purpose, but thought I would ask it anyway.

I have researched and designed for quite a while on how to best build an underwater habitat. I have communicated with many different pioneers and people in this space over the years and believe that I need to stop “dreaming” and start “doing”. I have contacted a marine architecture firm to see if they are willing to take my designs to the next level. I have a statement of work, I have designs, I have a NDA, and I have diagrams explaining aspects of the designs.
Never having taken on anything of this size, or even knowing where to start, I am looking for feedback and/or pointers on how best to proceed.
Although I believe that one man can be a catalyst in this new frontier, a group effort (similar to what Seasteading is doing) would probably be more efficient. My frustration over the lack of advancements and the amount of companies who have claimed to be doing this (underwater habitat/hotel) and then disappear really gets to me.

Thank you for any feedback or suggestions!

(.) #2

Welcome to the group Brendon.
This might be in focus. I think an underwater habitat is inevitable part of a seastead.
But it might not be, right at the start. We are before the start.

It is interesting to learn about your practical experiences about advancements and

I am interested about the details, whatever you might disclose.

Thank you for your post.


A number of members have interests in that area, one has a little applicable experience…

@ellmer built one ferrocement submarine at Lake Attersee, in Austria. The hatch seals were damaged by someone that broke in, so it took on water and eventually sank.

He began a 2nd one, in Cartagena, Columbia, which has gone unfinished. IMHO, the construction of the unfinished one was probably discontinued due to the drug-sub phenomenon and the international war of drugs, but Wil Ellmer has not been forthcoming on such information.

My own interests don’t exclude underwater housing, but don’t lean that way directly. My ideas for a circular area for IMTA, within an enlarged version of the Japanese Puffer Fish ‘mandala’ nest to regulate waves, could potentially provide a zone of relatively calm waters, that would potentially allow for undersea habitats, in the relatively shallow waters on the Continental Shelf, in the Gulf of Mexico.

It is my hope to create a base of operations to build and launch ‘Gulfsteads’/Seasteads, have a land-based support point for food, parcels, mail, etc.

While I do not have the funds for a down payment and closing costs, I do have a likely space selected, with several acres, along a highway, with a potential build area and roadway that could become a launching ramp.

There are some semi-sheltered waters, but it would need dredging, to create a viable channel.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #4

There is no upside for me to respond anything coming from the segment the poster @JL_Frusha represents…and that includes untrue statements and calumny on public forum…

(Wilfried Ellmer) #5


Can you share a bit about your project ?

You also might want to check on what has been discussed about this topic so far on TSI

the pointers you asked for…

Ocean Sphere Habitat
Vent Base Alpha
Ben Franklin

Kindest Regards

Wil |


Remind me to never try to tell the truth, or be nice to Wil Ellmer, for any reason, ever again…

@ellmer I didn’t ever say we were friends, or that you didn’t hate me, but I didn’t lie, nor misrepresent your interests. I am notorious for documenting anything I make a claim, or statement about…

On the other hand, your malicious misrepresentation of my health and mental wellbeing is, at best, slander.

Yes, I have survived numerous Strokes, believed by Drs to be 3-5 in number, as well as 8 documented Transient Ischaemic Attacks (potentially as many as 13).

I am on medications and supplements to treat those conditions and my ongoing recovery process has brought me out of Stroke Induced Dementia. I live a normal lifestyle, drive automobiles, etc. I’m even in the process of starting a new business and building a new prototype Anaerobic Digester.

[quote=“ellmer, post:4, topic:3149”]

  • non of what @JL_Frusha postulates about my projects is real … i am not sure if what he postulates here, is an intent of calumny…or simply a confused phantasy[quote]…

Unfortunatly we have to stop the movement at this point and send the launch team home. A new harbor captain is in charge and he is not comfortable with “launching a submarine in his jurisdiction” especially since the bad guys in the jungles have finally gone submarine too…

Exit on Moral Grounds
(noboxes) #7

This is not the place where anyone is doing anything, as far as i can tell. It’s really disappointing. I think those who are doing are not here, and no one is making money by making oceanic floating/submerged homes. This “institute” doesn’t provide research data, methodology, or other assistance to anyone involved in seasteading.

But on your underwater habitat project, two obvious questions are: how will you deal with severe bottom scour during storms, and how will you economically  hold it on the bottom? I know of only two (sort of) large scale underwater habitats, [1] one in a sheltered (almost a pool, it’s so sheltered) tourist resort which is losing money on it, and [2] the NOAA/NASA work space in the Florida Keys (which is abandoned during storms).

(Brendon Traxler) #8

Thank you all for your input and feedback. I am going to look at some of the feeds and links provided and in the meantime hopefully more communication may arise on this thread.


If you happen to be in Columbia, you can visit Wil’s commercial projects and check them out in person.

(Brendon Traxler) #10

Thanks for the info. I currently have no plans of heading that far south, but you never know.

(Brendon Traxler) #11

The habitat will be permanently mounted to the ocean floor similar to the way that the Aquarius Undersea Lab (which you referred to). The difference would be depth. Due to how shallow Aquarius is, this is why it needs abandoned. Even then, it has lasted most storms.

The initial “proof of concept” design would be in a more protected environment however.

(Brendon Traxler) #12

I do not want to get too detailed about the specifics, however I have a multi-phase approach to it. I believe the largest issue with all current habitats is that it is not available to the general public. SCUBA equipment and knowledge is required and unless you are of the scientific community there really is no place for you.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #13

I agree that access of the general public is important. Especially to have the phase 1 conversation…

Scuba only access, to the habitat, increased pressure in the habitat, is a absolute no go for ocean colonization, as there is no way to a massification of such a technology.

I envision ocean sphere habitats of around 30m diameter (to begin with) with the make and feel of a shopping mall at normal pressure . You might arrive in a hyperloop connection from a shore city and not even be aware that you are underwater now.

It is more or less the structure of the ORES sphere with an oculum and a different purpose…

I do not want to get too detailed about the specifics

So how much can you share on this public forum - would you like to take this to a private space ?

(Brendon Traxler) #14

My initial designs back in the 90s were based around the idea of an ORES sphere of sorts, but realized this was not going to be practical from the get go.

The advent of Hyperloop definitely does offer a viable option.

I had shared too much information on my website in the past and another company almost word for word used a large portion of my ideas. They claimed it was coincidental, but I have become leary since then of giving out too much information up front.

(noboxes) #15

Just to toss out some numbers —

ORES sphere

100ft dia inside
1200 sq ft apartments

apartments on :
6 center floor
4 on next floor above and below
2 on 2nd floor above and below
1 on last habitable floor above and below
20 total apartments

MIT university estimated cost of sphere to be $12 million
that’s $600K per 1200 sq ft apartment, $500 per square foot,

PLUS: you still need to build it and travel to it

furnishings, (walls, floor, ceiling, etc, because the sphere is empty)
utilities, (power, hvac, water, sewer, etc)
submarine to get to it, (it’s deep underwater)
boat ride to get to submarine (it’s 20 miles offshore)

Maybe i am strange, but i wouldn’t pay one $million to live in a 1200 sq ft apartment with random other people on the bottom of the ocean with iffy submarine mechanical systems.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #16

Happens to me all the time - i see it as a form of reference when others try to steal ideas from me.
This is why at our group what is out on internet and what is actually going on always runs on a time delay of 10 years …

So if you want to go to a private space to talk about this it is OK with me.

(Brendon Traxler) #17

Yeah, again, I think this is great and we will get there, but for starting off its a lofty goal. But hey, if someone wants to start out this way, good for them.
I just planned on starting small to test the different design elements on a smaller scale before ramping up to large scale habitat. Maybe I am wrong, but since no one is doing anything I just feel it is something and if it gets built it may be a catalyst to get people actually moving in this realm.
I am just trying to find an marine architecture firm to work with to get everything moving. As I said I have submitted information to one already, but would like multiple bids.


I truly wish you good luck, there. Even for a well designed project, Naval Architects and Marine Engineers are difficult to get reasonably priced help from.

My own hull design, the lowest has been $2500 just for help getting to a proper modeling stage for wave tank testing.

(Brendon Traxler) #19

That’s good information. I assumed it would be in the thousands but had no idea what I would be looking for.

(noboxes) #20

And getting permission from whoever owns the bottom where you intend to set it. And if it’s just you, can you anchor your boat to it and believe the boat is safe while you submarine down to your home?

I suspect you won’t get insurance for the living space, and then there’s no point in hiring an architect to design it vs following best commercial practices, simply because of the amount of concrete you’ll be using to make it be hollow, yet sink. I mean, if it’s just you and it’s a proof of concept.