10 unique underwater architecture around the world

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Architecture has no bounds it is only limited to one’s thought process. Architecture is expanding into all layers of our biosphere, from building on the land to reaching the sky, up on the tree, under the earth, and now moving towards the water. Earth is composed of a majority part by water (About 71%); the construction sector would eventually reach urban expansion to water. Water (Oceans) on Earth has been explored less than ten percent and about ninety percent is yet to be explored further. Underwater architecture similarly is an evolving type of architecture, it is yet to be explored in terms of design and construction aspects with the behavior of water.

1. Atlantis Sanya Resort, China


Location: Hainan Island, Sanya (China)
Typology: Luxury Resort
Design: HOK (Hellmuth Obtat Kassabaum) – Main Architect
JBI (Jeffrey Beers International) + HBA (Hirsch Bedner Associates) Collaboration
Construction: Completed in 2018

Atlantis Sanya is built around the theme of “The lost city of Atlantis”, hence designing around the water was the theme of the resort. Located along the coast of Haitang Bay National Coast in Sanya, is a 55-story high sail-shaped hotel. The hotel is composed of 1300 hotel rooms with underwater suites (Five Deluxe suites). The Poseidon and Neptune suites are aesthetically pleasing underwater designed suites. The open-air aquariums and water parks in their resort, boast about the variety of water species looked after.

More than 320,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, and conference space can be found on the podium. The signature Atlantis Bridge Suite is located on the penthouse level of the tower. The arrival port cochere and lobby reception are built around an axis that provides views of the waterpark and the ocean. They also offer a strong cross-axial orientation to the adjacent Lost Chambers Aquarium.

2. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives


Location: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island – Maldives
Typology: Restaurant
Design: M.J Murphy Ltd (New Zealand-based consultancy)
Construction: Completed in 2005

Ithaa Undersea restaurant located in the Maldives, dining five meters below the sea is an out-of-the-world dining experience. The restaurant located in Conrad Maldives Rangali Island it is designed by a New Zealand-based design consultancy. The restaurant has a 270-degree panoramic ocean-view dining experience which is the first undersea restaurant in the world. The restaurant is made of acrylic and can hold a maximum capacity of 14 people.

3. Jules Undersea Lodge, United States


Location: Key Largo, Florida
Typology: Research lab – Turned Guest House
Design: Neil Monney and Ian Koblick
Construction: Completed in 1986

Jules Undersea Lodge is a guest house located 30 feet deep under the sea, it is the only undersea structure in the United States. The research lab turned Guest home (Hotel) is situated at the bottom of Emerald Lagoon. The floor plan is a combination of two cuboidal cylinders on either side of a rectangular space. The visitors can access the guest rooms by the underwater entrance to the quest house. An individual visiting the guest house experience the wonderful marine life of the lagoon, since he/she has to scuba dive for about 21 feet to reach the entrance of the guest house.

4. Subsix, Niyama Island, Maldives


Location: Niyama Island – Maldives
Typology: Hospitality + Restaurant/Bar
Design: Poole Associates Private Limited
Construction: Completed in 2015

Subsix an underwater restaurant/bar is located in proximity to Niyama Island. The restaurant/bar is accurately named “Subsix”, since its located six meters below the land. The Subsix restaurant is 500 meters off the coast from the Per Aquum Niyama resort, it is accessed from the resort by a speed boat. It is accessed by a three-tier flight of stairs leading to the undersea restaurant and bar. The décor of the restaurant is designed that is revolving around the theme of the ocean. The decor elements used in the design; Ocean blue color lights, Coral form chandeliers, marine-reef-inspired furniture, and coral reef/shell-inspired ceiling.

5. The Manta Resort, Tanzania

Location: Pemba Island, Tanzania
Typology: Hospitality + Resort
Design: Genberg Underwater Hotels
Construction: Completed in 2013

The Manta resort is a floating luxury resort located at the north-western tip of Pemba Island. The resort is an overall satisfying experience in terms of exploring architecture with marine life. The majority of the structure is situated underwater, it consists of two levels the deck and the underwater level;

Landing deck level (Above water surface) – Consist of a lounge area and bathroom utilities
Underwater level (Submerged level) – Consists of Bedrooms (Two levels)
The bedroom level is the best example of a marine life experience, with an almost 360-degree window view into the ocean (Exquisite marine life experience).

6. Under, Norway

Location: Lindesnes, Norway
Typology: Hospitality + Restaurant
Design: Snohetta (Norwegian-based architecture firm)
Construction: Completed in 2019

The Under in Norway is an underwater restaurant situated 5.5 meters below sea level. The central feature of the restaurant is a panoramic window (Measuring 11 by 3.4 meters) viewing the ocean. The 495 square meters restaurant consists of a single entrance on the shore, it is the largest underwater restaurant in the world. The half-submerged structure is the first underwater restaurant in Europe. The restaurant is composed of concrete material and the exterior surface and structure act as a research center for marine life.

7. Floating Seahorse Villa, Dubai

Location: The Heart of Europe Islands – Dubai
Typology: Residential (Luxury)
Design: Kleindienst Architects
Construction: Completed in 2018

Floating Seahorse Villa is a luxurious residential unit located in “The Heart of Europe” Islands, Dubai. The unit consists of primary two levels, stairs in the upper-level lead to the bedroom, and bathroom spaces are submerged underwater in complete contrast to the upper level. The full ceiling-to-floor height windows provide a wide ocean view from the bedrooms. The luxury yacht is made up of three levels composed of different material palettes;

Deck Level – Lightweight aluminum frames
Underwater and Sea Level – Marine grade concrete

8. The Coral Greenhouse, Australia

Location: John Brewer Reef – Australia
Typology: Museum
Design: Jason de Caires (British sculptor, artist, and photographer)
Construction: Completed in 2019

The Coral greenhouse located in John Brewer Reef in Australia was designed by a British artist and an underwater specialized sculpture. The 165-ton underwater greenhouse structure located 80km from Townsville, it evolves with time and marine life. It is the first underwater museum situated in the southern hemisphere, that spreads the knowledge of reef conservation. The greenhouse is composed of concrete and steel material with 20 human statues (Reef guardians).

9. Resort World Sentosa, Singapore

Location: Sentosa Gateway, Singapore
Typology: Hospitality (Resort)
Design: Architect – Michael Graves & Associates
Construction: Completed in 2010

The Resort World Sentosa located in Singapore is designed by Michael Graves and Associates. The resort is located on Sentosa Island which is situated off the southern coast of Singapore. The resort is primarily known for its underwater ocean suites, referred to as the Equarius Ocean Suites. The underwater suites are designed in a townhouse typology that consists of two levels;

Top Level – Consist of an open living area leading into a private jacuzzi and an outdoor patio
Underwater Level – Bedrooms with an out-of-the-world ocean view.

10. The Ossiano, Dubai

Location: Dubai, UAE
Typology: Hospitality (Restaurant)
Construction: Completed in 2008

The Underwater Ossiano restaurant located in the Palm, Dubai is one of the primary attractions in the Atlantis The Palm luxury hotel. The Atlantis Resort is known for its underwater suites as well as the luxury Ossiano restaurant. The restaurant is run by Michelin-starred chef Gregoire Berger, they serve top-notch dishes with an amazing view of the ocean to top the dining experience.

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