The vision: a 220-suite hotel, off the coast of Dubai, totally submerged in the Persian Gulf. This was Hydropolis, a project conceived in 2006, delayed in 2008, and today nothing more than a pile of blueprints. Here's what could've been:

The plan was always to let humans experience the sea in a totally new way. Immersed, but protected. Among, but not of. Even the architecture hoped to bridge the gap between our oceans and ourselves:

Hydropolis reproduces the human organism in an architectural design. There is a direct analogy between the physiology of man and the architecture. The geometrical element is a figure eight lying on its side and inscribed in a circle. The spaces created in the basin will contain function areas, such as restaurants, bars, meeting rooms and theme suites. These can be compared to the components of the human organism: the motor functions and the nervous and cardiovascular systems, with the central sinus knot representing the pulse of all life.

The ballroom, located at this nerve centre, will have asymmetrical pathways connecting the different storeys along ramps. A large, petal-like retracting roof will enable the staging of open-sky events. Staircases, lifts and ramps will provide access to the ballroom, while flanking catering areas will supply banquets and receptions.


Sounds wonderful! There was even a relatively detailed video created to explain how this would all go down:


Unfortunately, it's been months and months since we've heard anything from the project's backers and builders. And given the state of other ambitious Dubai architectural projects, it's likely that Hydropolis has become every bit as mythical as Atlantis. [DSN]