'City of Mériens' by Jacques Rougerie

Dreamed up by French architect Jacques Rougerie, this is the City of Mériens - a giant floating city designed to give scientists a place to live while they conduct research on the surrounding ocean. The futuristic research facility would stretch 900 metres by 500 metres, and would house up to 7,000 scientists and students from all over the world, offering them an array of laboratories, classrooms, lecture halls, living quarters, and dedicated areas for leisure activities and sports, to facilitate long-term research projects.

"Considering the dimension and size of the international scientific community - 7,000 people spread on the entire structure - I designed the City of Mériens in the form of a manta ray because it was the best design to accommodate such a community with regards [to] the best possible correlation between space and stability needs," Rougerie told Weather.com.

The manta ray design was selected because of its ability to resist turbulence from storms and other harsh weather conditions. While the visible structure is just 60 metres tall, it plunges up to 120 metres below the surface of the ocean, which helps to keep the whole thing steady. The shape also allows for a large lagoon to be hosted in the centre of the facility, into which roving research vessels such as SeaOrbiters - also designed by Rougerie - can be parked, and on either side of its access channels there’ll be space for aquaculture breeding farms where scientists can cultivate and study various marine species. The tips of the vessel’s ‘wings’ would house hydroponic greenhouses for growing all the fruits and vegetables the residents will need right there onboard.

"People would come [from] all over the world - it’s an international city governed by United Nations standards. It’s destined for researchers, academics and students who wish to explore and study the ocean," Rougerie says of his vision for the floating city. "[It] would revolutionise the world of underwater studies due to the fact that people would have a permanent contact with the ocean, as well as a direct access to the underwater world, as part of the City is completely underwater."