World renown Aquanaut, Fabien Cousteau and his Learning Centre, the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center (FCOLC) have conceived The Proteus, the world’s largest underwater lab. The project that has been designed by Yves Béhar, a designer from Switzerland and fuseproject. The Proteus’ inception has been dubbed the world’s most advanced underwater scientific research station and habitat to address humanity’s most critical concerns. It will be the most technologically advanced underwater station to ever be constructed and will be installed with state-of-the-art labs, and generate a livable space for scientists to work for long periods of time which, for divers, is one of the biggest concerns as a person can only stay at depth for a few hours per day. The rest of the day is “wasted” not dying.
At 372 m2 (4000 sf), Proteus will be three or four times the size of any previously built submarine habitats, accommodating up to 12 people at once. Attached to the ocean floor by legs designed to adapt to the variable terrain, the design is based on the concept of a spiral. A series of modular pods are attached to the main body and will accommodate a variety of uses such as laboratories, sleeping quarters, bathrooms, medical bays, life support systems, and storage. The largest pod contains a moon pool allowing submersibles to dock. These pods can be attached or detached to adapt to the specific needs of the users over time, fuseproject said on its website. The two levels of Proteus are connected by a spiral ramp to encourage physical activity and movement for the inhabitants. The ramp connects the main spaces within Proteus which are designed to feel inviting and comfortable, an approach which is a departure from most facilities of this nature which typically forego comfort and a sense of home in favour of cold utility. These common spaces include a living room, kitchen, dining, and work areas. Proteus will also have the first underwater greenhouse so residents can grow fresh plant food to solve the challenge of not being able to cook with open flames
The Proteus is set to be installed off the coast of Curacao, in a biodiverse, Marine Protected Area, in the Caribbean, at a depth of approx. 60 feet. The world’s largest underwater lab will be built to last for a certain number of years engineers deem safe and feasible, the Marine Research Platform will enable the advancement of science and oceanic research, focusing also on creating a big impact in ocean conservation, using and promoting renewable clean energy, and food sustainability.