Surprisingly, these "underwater construction" strategies share a common goal: to avoid constructing underwater.
Fremont, CA: Buildings have become taller as the world's population has grown. Cranes are sprinkled across dense cities, erecting new, spectacular towers. What if the future of cities is not in the sky but deep within the ocean?
Humans have been exploring underwater construction for several years, and construction techniques for erecting underwater structures and buildings already exist. Although the only cities that are now underwater are those that have drowned through time, ideas for future underwater towns are already being studied.
These ambitions are not as far-fetched as they appear, and there are already several underwater restaurants and resorts worldwide. However, to truly appreciate these astounding efforts, it is necessary to learn much about the construction processes that allow for underwater construction.
Methods of Underwater Construction
Surprisingly, these "underwater construction" strategies share a common goal: to avoid constructing underwater. Instead, water is redirected or avoided in different ways throughout construction, which is a necessary method because building in water is practically impossible. As a result, "building underwater" is more about coming up with inventive ways to operate around water and create structures that can survive once built.
Caissons are waterproof buildings that can be sunk into the water while keeping the inside dry. Workers can dig deep into the dry interior of an open caisson to find a firm platform on which the caisson will rest. Caissons eventually become the founding principle of construction, typically a bridge or a dam.
Cofferdams are temporary structures that enable water to get drained out, resulting in a dry building environment. As the name implies, Cofferdams operate similarly to dams in that they limit the passage of water from a certain location. A completely built cofferdam resembles a big, walled hole surrounded by water.
Cofferdams can help construct a wide range of structures, from wharfs and piers to partially or completely submerged constructions.
Piles in underwater construction often get built of steel, with a somewhat hollow interior. Following the placement of the piles, a tube is helpful to fill the inside of the pile with concrete, displacing the water that was previously inside the pile. Concrete can be set even while surrounded by water, and the ultimate result is a steel-reinforced concrete pillar with no water inside it. Driven piles are among the most cost-effective ways to construct fundamental parts of underwater structures, which must get securely fastened to avoid shifting with the current.