Sea Urchin-Inspired House Captures Tidal Energy


If you’ve ever dreamed of having a seafront home shaped like a sea urchin — who hasn’t? — then hold onto your swim fins.

The Hydroelectric Tidal House, envisioned by architectural designer Margot Krasojević, draws inspiration from some of nature’s weirdest sea creatures — echinoderms like starfish and sea urchins whose symmetrical shapes have long fascinated biologists.

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The concept house is designed to capture tidal energy by allowing water to flow through multiple channels between an inner and outer shell. The outer shell is anchored to the shoreline, while the inner shell pushes and pulls with the tide.

A turbine system of magnets and copper wire coils stored in an electrostatic capacitor transform the tidal energy into electrical current. Solar cells that line the upper and outer portions of the concrete structure provide extra power.

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The concept home was designed for the residential suburb of Llandudno, in Cape Town, South Africa, which is known for its rugged shoreline and rough seas. Large boulders dot the beaches, allowing for the structure to anchor itself and roll with the tide, as it were — much in the manner of actual sea urchins.

Designer Krasojević has previously proposed similarly far-out projects with nature in mind, including an electric coral reef station, a cliff-hanger hotel and a seashell-shaped 3D-printed, wind-powered lamp. (Say that three times fast.)

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