Artificial islands — those created by humans rather than natural means — constructed in the distant past and becoming increasingly rampant in recent years have been built by all sorts of revolutionary and bizarre methods and materials, from construction upon existing reefs, drudging of sand and blasted rock, to stainless steel, and even trash.
Ranging vastly in scale from land reclamations to support a single pillar of a building or structure to those which support entire megalithic sized communities to expand upon non-existent land availability in a crowded metropolis as well as structures of art, each has its own amazing features or notability of character.
Designed to resemble a string of pearls, the Pearl-Qatar in Doha, Qatar is an artificial island spanning nearly four million square meters, creating over 20 miles (32 kilometers) of new coastline, located 383 yards (350 meters) offshore of Doha’s West Bay Lagoon area on a former pearl diving site.
Ritzcarlton Qatar & The Pearl Qatar. Photo Ayham Hassan
Reclaimed for use as a residential estate, once completed it will be the first land in Qatar to be available for freehold ownership by foreign nationals with an expected 15,000 dwellings by 2010. The $2.5 billion U.S. offshore Pearl-Qatar project will eventually house over 30,000 residents in an up-scale, multi-cultural residential community which will be a secure and exclusive Island.
Photo Lynx Eye1
Developed by United Development Company (UDC), residential development is intended to incorporate various themes including aspects of Arabic, Mediterranean and European culture, with commercial facilities to support the various residential precincts including 3 luxury hotels and 3 marinas, with combined mooring for over 700 boats in the Riviera Arabia themed districts.
Visionary designer Wolf Hilbertz’s plan to grow a self-sustaining island city on Seamount Ampere, located about halfway between the Madeira Islands and the tip of Portugal, will extend 50 feet down to the bottom of the Atlantic.
Hibertz aims to use the oceans as a home of the future with an ingenious and revolutionary method that he developed, using sunlight to turn minerals in seawater into limestone, which in turn will construct floating island homes.
A massive limestone dam would surround the city to develop Autopia Ampere, beginning with a series of wire-mesh armatures anchored atop a sea mountain connected to a supply of low-voltage direct current, and building components will be grown in the sea.
Over time, electrochemical reactions will draw minerals from the sea to the armatures, creating walls of calcium carbonate — in effect, limestone.
Solar panels, wind generators and a thermal energy conversion system will supply power to the ‘dam’ that will extract power from temperature differences among different ocean currents.
Similar to how a sponge absorbs water, the oceans absorb CO2. By removing carbon-containing compounds from the oceans, the mineral accretion process would help reduce the buildup of CO2, a greenhouse gas — a unique and great way to save the environment if it ever gets developed.
The Dubai Waterfront — now known as Waterfront — is expected to become the largest waterfront and largest man-made development in the world, adding more than 44 miles (70 kilometers) to Dubai’s coastline.
A conglomeration of canals and artificial islands occupying the last remaining Persian Gulf coastline of Dubai, the most populous emirate of the United Arab Emirates, the vision of the project was “to create a world-class destination for residents, visitors and businesses in the world’s fastest growing city.”
Dubai in 2009
The World — one of several artificial island projects being constructed in Dubai — is a man-made group of 300 islands created in the shape of the continents of the world in the profile of a world map, located 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) off. The World is built primarily using sand dredged from the sea, originally conceived by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai.
Each island in the archipelago ranges from about 150,000 square feet (14,000 sq meters) to 450,000 square feet (42,000 sq meters) with a distance between each island at an average of 328 feet (100 meters). The entire development covers an area of 5.6 miles (9 kilometers) in length and 3.8 miles (6 kilometers) in width, surrounded by an oval breakwater. Roughly 144 miles (232 kilometers) of shoreline has been created.
The overall development cost of The World was estimated as $14 billion U.S. Individual islands prices range between $15 and $50 million U.S. but one island is still for sale at a price of $250 million U.S.
The project was unveiled on May 6 2003 by Sheikh Mohammed, and dredging began 4 months later in September 2003. By January 2008, 60% of the islands had been sold, 20 of which were bought in the first 4 months of 2007. On January 10 2008, the final stone on the breakwater was laid, completing initial development. The next phase of the project is to hand over the individual islands to developers.
The small private artificial islands of private homes, estate homes, dream resorts, and community islands can only be accessed by boat.
The World – Dubai
Dubai World Islands
Artificial Islands of Dubai
The Palm Islands are artificial islands in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the largest land reclamation projects in the world. Constructed by Nakheel Properties, the islands include the Palm Jumeirah, the Palm Jebel Ali and the Palm Deira.
Dubai is a small desert state with a coastline only 37 miles (60 kilometers) long up to the point of development for the Palm Islands.
The smallest palm, Palm Jumeirah, accepted its first residents in the summer of 2007. The Palm Jebel Ali, a medium-size island, is structurally complete, and the largest island, the Palm Deira, is still undergoing sea reclamation.
The creation of the Palm Jumeirah began in June 2001, and reclamation for the Palm Jebel Ali began shortly afterwards. The Palm Jebel Ali is expected to accommodate 1.7 million people by 2020.
In 2012, the first phase of four theme parks will open on the Crescent of Palm Jebel Ali, which together will be called “World of Discovery,” which will form into the shape of an orca. The parks include SeaWorld, Aquatica, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove.
The Palm Deira was announced for development in October 2004. Upon completion, it will become the world’s largest man-made island, housing more than a million people, expected to be finished by 2015. This island is 8 times larger than the Palm Jumeirah, and 5 times larger that the Palm Jebel Ali, which Nakheel claims is a surface area larger than that of Paris
By early October 2007, 20% of the island’s reclamation was complete, with a total of 7 billion cubic feet (200 million cubic meters) of sand already used. In early April 2008, Nakheel announced that more than a quarter of the total area of the Palm Deira had been reclaimed, amounting to 10.6 billion cubic feet (300 million cubic meters) of sand.
Since the island is so large, it’s being developed in several phases. The first one is the creation of Deira Island, which will act as “the gateway to The Palm Deira.” By early April 2008, 80% of Deira Island Front’s reclamation was complete.
To construct the islands, drudged sand is sprayed by the dredging ships guided by DGPS onto the required area in a process known as rainbowing because of the arcs in the air when the sand is sprayed. The sand is covered by an erosion-preventing water permeable geo-textile, which is blanketed by 1-ton rocks and 2 layers of large rocks weighing up to 6 tons each.
The outer edge of each Palm’s encircling crescent is a large rock breakwater created by from blasted mountain rock. The breakwater of the Palm Jumeirah has over 7 million tons of rock, each one placed individually by a crane, signed off by a diver and given a GPS coordinate.
The breakwater also has two 328-foot openings on each side to eliminate stagnation in the 16 narrow, deep channels which allows water to completely circulate every 13 days.
The Crescent of Palm Jumeirah lies about 13 feet (4 meters) above low tide sea level and sits in 34 feet (10 meters) of water at its deepest point. Nakheel believes the breakwater will protect the palm island from typiical gulf weather and an enormous storm, and suggests that villas barely 10 feet above sea level will be safe from the rising seas of global warming.
A 6-lane Sub-Sea Tunnel connects Palm Jumeirah to the mainland, with plan for a monorail that will run the length of the palm.
Once complete, Nakheel expects 120,000 residents and workers plus as many as 20,000 tourists a day.
The Palm Jumeirah Islands, Dubai
Burj Al Arab
Standing upon its own artificial island 919 feet (333 meters) out from Jumeirah beach connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge about 9 miles (15 kilometers) south of Dubai, the Burj Al Arab –Tower of the Arabs — is a luxury hotel located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the only 7-star hotel in the world.
Dominating the Dubai coastline at 1,053 feet (321 meters), it’s currently the world’s tallest building used exclusively as a hotel, but the Rose Tower Dubai, which has already topped Burj Al Arab’s height at 1,093 feet (333 meters) and the incomplete 1,083 foot (330 meter) Ryungyong Hotel in Pyongyang, Korea, will steal this title upon its opening, expected some time this year.
The iconic structure, designed to symbolize Dubai’s urban transformation and to resemble the sail of a ‘dhow’ boat — a type of Arabian vessel. Two ‘wings’ spread in a V to form a vast ‘mast,’ while the space between them is enclosed in the world’s tallest atrium. The hotel also features the world’s highest tennis court. Construction of Burj Al Arab began in 1994.
The hotel can be reached by causeway in one of its courtesy white Rolls Royce vehicles or by helicopter on its OFO-like heliport cantilevered out from its top floor. The heliport has also served as a grass tennis court for Andre Agassi and Roger Federer, and a golf green for Tiger Woods.
The building design features a steel exoskeleton wrapped around a reinforced concrete tower. The space between the wings is enclosed by a Teflon-coated fibreglass sail, curving across the front of the building which creates the atrium.
The sail is made of a material called Dyneon, spanning over 161,000 square feet (15,000 sq meters), consists of 2 layers, divided into 12 panels and installed vertically. The fabric is coated with DuPont Teflon to protect it from harsh desert heat, wind, and dirt, said to last 50 years.
It took 3 years to reclaim the land from the sea which it’s built upon, but less than 3 years to construct the building itself. The structure contains over 70,000 cubic meters of concrete and 9,000 tons of steel.
The cost of staying in a suite begins at $1,000 per night, but the Royal Suite — the hotel’s most expensive — will set you back a cool $28,000 per night. You can visit the Burj Al Arab hotel website for bookings.
Federation Island is an artificial island archipelago that will be located off the coast of Sochi in the Black Sea — a complex that will be built in the shape of Russia. Russian developers outlined plans for the $6.2 billion 350-hectare artificial island to be built near the future 2014 Winter Olympic venue in Sochi, to be completed in time for the events.
The floating ‘mini-Russia’ will boast artificial rivers made to mimic the continent’s real waterways, part of a larger effort by the Russian state to revamp the area’s Soviet-era infrastructure before the big event.
The island is expected to house around 25,000 people in apartments and villas, hotels, restaurants, malls, year-round yacht parking, various sea attractions – aquarium, oceanarium, and many other features.
Construction is due to start next year and developers M-Industry, based in Saint Petersburg, said the project had all the funding in place.
If ever built, the X-Seed 4000 designed to be located in the Tokyo harbor, will not only be the most populated artificial island, it will also be by far the tallest sky scraper in the world as a self-contained high-rise city.
Powered mainly by solar energy and resembling Mount Fuji, the tower would measure 13,123 feet (4,000 meters) tall with a 6 square kilometer sea-base in the harbor, estimated to accommodate between 500,000 to 1,000,000 inhabitants with an 800 floor capacity.
The real Mount Fuji is 12,388 feet (3,776 meters) in height, nearly 735 feet (224 meters) shorter than X-Seed 4000.
It was designed for Tokyo, Japan by the Taisei Corporation in 1995 as a futuristic environment combining ultra-modern living and interaction with nature.
Unlike conventional skyscrapers, the X-Seed 4000 would be required to actively protect its occupants from considerable air pressure gradations and weather fluctuations along its massive elevation. Its design calls for the use of solar power to maintain internal environmental conditions.
“The X-Seed 4000 “was never meant to be built,” says Georges Binder, managing director of Buildings & Data, a firm which compiles data banks on buildings worldwide. “The purpose of the plan was to earn some recognition for the firm, and it worked.”
Estimates for the cost to construct the X-Seed 4000 structure could be somewhere between $300 to 900 billion US in 2006 dollars.
Hulhumale is a reclaimed island located in Kaafu Atoll, Maldives to establish a new land mass required to meet the existing and future housing, industrial and commercial development demands of the Male region. The official settlement was inaugurated by President Gayoom on May 12, 2004.
The development and management of the island is undertaken by a Government owned corporation called Hulhumalé Development Corporation.
Reclamation of Hulhumale began October 16, 1997 on the Hulhule-Farukolhufushi lagoon 1.3 kilometers off the north west coast of Malé. Initial reclamation — or Phase I — consisting of 45% of land mass cost $11,000,000.00 U.S. The project was then continued by a Belgian Joint Venture Company, International Port Engineering and Management (IPEM) and Dredging International (DI) costing an estimated $21 million U.S.
Amager Beach Park
Amager Beach Park — or Amager Strandpark — is a Danish island in the Oresund, located in the charmingly rugged area of Amager. The Danish capital, Copenhagen, is partly situated on Amager, which is connected to Zealand by several bridges.
The beach area to the East of the island, known as Amager Strandpark (Amager Beach Park), had fallen into disrepair since its inception in the 1930′s, but was extensively redeveloped between 2004 and 2005.
A 1.2 mile (2 kilometer) long artificial island was constructed just off the mainland which narrows to the southeast, creating a small lagoon, which seems to go on indefinitely, designed to accommodate 50,000 visitors. The seaward facing side of the island comprises a wide sandy bathing beach, while the lagoon facing side is mainly made up of low dunes and winding paths.
Balboa Island is an area of Newport Beach, California actually comprising 3 modified or artificial islands in Newport Harbor — Balboa, the largest, the smaller Little Balboa Island to the east of Balboa Island, joined by a two-lane bridge, and the smallest Collins to the northwest of Balboa Island, joined by a one-lane bridge.
Photo Adam Farnsworth
The Balboa Island community is joined to the mainland by a short 2-lane bridge on the northeast of Balboa Island, and a privately-operated fleet of three, 3-car ferryboats which provide access across the harbor to the Balboa Peninsula which lies to the south.
Balboa Island is one of the most expensive real estate markets in North America outside of Lower Manhattan. A 2-bedroom house with a water view from the living room can cost about $3 million.
The island was not always easily accessible. Newport Harbor was still largely undredged, and sailboat was often the only way to get around.
Crannog (Loc Tay)
A crannog is an ancient artificial island or natural island in Scotland and Ireland, used for a settlement. The name may also refer to a wooden platform erected on shallow lough floors, but few remains of this sort have been found. The name crannog derives from crannoge, from Middle Irish crannóc, from Old Irish, from crann, tree.
Photo Dave Morris
The choice of an island as a home is thought to have been for defense and availability of food in the form of fish nearby. The crannog could be reached from the nearest shore by means of a causeway built up with stones, or a wooden gangway built atop raised piles.
Alte Rathaus in Bamberg
Legend has it that Bamberg’s bishop refused to give a single inch of land to the citizens. The citizens of Bamberg rammed piles into the River Regnitz, creating an artificial island for their Town Hall in the center of the river. The location marks the border between the clerical city on the hills and the merchant’s island.
Photo Jesse 50
The Rathaus or Old Town Hall (1386, rebuilt 1744-1756), built in the middle of the Regnitz River, can only be reached by 2 stone bridges and features a Baroque facade on one side and a half-timbered one on the other side.
Fadiout — or Fadiouth — is an artificial island made almost entirely of clam shells, located opposite Joal at the southern end of the Petite Cote of Senegal. A wood footbridge connects Fadiout to bank.
Photo A Lovely World
It has large Christian and Muslim populations with cemeteries on another shell island linked to Fadiout by a second bridge, which is home to hundreds of Christian graves, each marked by a cross and a pile of shells.
Boat Houses Joal-Fadiout. Photo Bartvanpoll
Another attraction are the granaries on stilts in the water.
Harbor Island is a man-made island in the mouth of Seattle, Washington’s Duwamish Waterway where it empties into Elliott Bay. Built by the Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Company, Harbor Island was completed in 1909 and was the largest man-made island in the world at the time, at 350 acres (1.4 sq kilometers).
Since 1912, the island has been used for commercial and industrial activities, including secondary lead smelting, shipbuilding and repair, bulk petroleum storage, metal fabrication, and containerized cargo shipping. Warehouses, laboratories, and other buildings are located on the island. Fishermen use the waters around Harbor Island for shellfishing, crabbing, and fishing.
Harbor Island was made from earth removed in the Jackson and Dearborn Street regrades and dredged from the bed of the Duwamish River.
The West Seattle Bridge passes over the island, as does the newer Spokane Street Bridge, a swing bridge across the West Waterway. The East Waterway is crossed by a causeway supported a few feet above high tide by pilings.
At one of few perennial wetlands in the Northern Cape, Lesser Flamingos have started breeding on an artificial island at the Kamfers Dam, located just north of Kimberley, South Africa. The island is 250m x 25m and S-shaped, the 3rd of its kind in the world, built by Ekapa Mining.
With a constant inflow of treated sewerage water and the diversion of Kimberley’s storm water runoff through the municipality’s reticulation system, the island has become permanently inundated, supporting a large diversity of birds — about 180 species recorded to date — and number in excess of 25,000 individuals of waterbirds.
A submersed pump powered by 3 solar panels provides water for 4 ponds on the island, and ensures wet clay that the flamingos use to construct their nest turrets.
The island is 1 of only 4 breeding sites for Lesser Flamingos in Africa. But these flamingos are under increasing threat, mainly due to a deteriorating water quality and unsustainable development on the northern outskirts of the dam. Urgent attention needs to be given to addressing the threats, otherwise Kamfers Dam is destined to become a cesspool devoid of flamingos and other animal life.
Because of its importance for waterbirds, Kamfers Dam is recognized as a Natural Heritage Site, and international Ramsar status is pending.
The lesser flamingo was classified as “Near Threatened” in the 2006 World Conservation Union’s Red List of Threatened Species.
Visit the Kimberley “save the flamingo” website to see what you can do to help.
Danube – Donauinsel Island
Danube Island — or the Donauinsel — is an artificial island 13 miles (21.1 kilometers) long and 230 feet to 690 feet (70 to 210 meters) broad, accompanying the river Danube along most of its way through the town area of Vienna, Austria’s capital, on the left escorted by the newly excavated Neue Donau (literally New Danube).
To most visitors, the island is known as a recreational area with bars, restaurants and nightclubs, a wealth of sports opportunities from rollerblading, cycling and swimming to canoeing and one beach that in its beginning seemed so exotic that it was soon nicknamed the “Copa Cagrana” — a humoristic allusion to Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana. In the southern and northern parts of the island there are extensive nude beaches.
But the main purpose of the island is to be part of Vienna’s highly sophisticated flood protection system. As the mighty river Danube crosses the town, flooding had been a constant concern for hundreds of years. First measures were taken in 1870 to 1875 for which a central bed, 920 feet (280 meters) was dug out, and an inundation area of 1480 feet (450 meters) was created at the river’s left bank.
An additional diluvian bed was dug to replace the former inundation area in 1970, now called Neue Donau (New Danube).
The Donauinselfest is an internationally well-known annual open air festival, and Europe’s biggest event of this kind, expected to soon hit the 3-million-visitors mark, which typically takes place at the end of June annually.
Durrat Al Bahrain
Durrat Al Bahrain is an artificial island project in Bahrain located in and around the azure waters of the southern Bahraini seas, similar to the Palm Islands in Dubai.
The project will be a series of 15 inter-connected man-made islands covering an area of 215.3 million square feet (20 million sq meters). It will comprise of 6 atolls (coral lagoon islands), 5 fish-shaped petal islands, a crescent-shaped island, 5-star hotels, an 18-hole golf course, 12 bridges, and a marina.
The iconic architecture of the city will be set against the necklace shape of the islands, its waterways, pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear sea.
Work on the $6 billion landmark Durrat Al Bahrain project was hit on Feb 9 2008 as more than 1,300 laborers downed tools in a dispute over pay. Workers from the GP Zacharides company, who are based at a labor camp in the landmark Durrat Al Bahrain development, went on strike demanding better salaries and complaining of poor living conditions.
Six of Durrat Al Bahrain’s residential islands have already been developed, consisting of 3 inner islands and 3 outer islands of just over 1000 luxury beach and sea front villas.
Île Notre-Dame is an artificial island built in 10 months from 15 million tons of rock excavated for the Montreal Metro in 1965, created for Expo 67 to celebrate Canada’s centennial. The island is part of the city of Montreal, forming part of the Hochelaga Archipelago, located in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River immediately east of Île Sainte-Hélène and west of the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Together with Saint Helen’s Island, it makes up the Parc Jean-Drapeau, which is one of the largest in Montreal.
Nearly all of the remaining Expo 67 pavilions were demolished in 1975 to make way for a long rowing basin for Montreal’s 1976 Summer Olympics, and remains the largest artificial rowing basin in North America.
The former pavilion of France and the pavilion of Quebec were gutted, redecorated, and became the Montreal Casino, a large gambling establishment owned and operated by the government of Quebec. The park area on the western tip of the island has a small lake with a swimming beach called “La plage des iles.”
For a few days every year the quiet environment of the island is shattered by the roar of Formula 1 racing of the Canadian Grand Prix.
In fall and spring there are few visitors to the site, except for the gamblers at the casino and the rowers and canoers in the Olympic basin. In the coldest part of winter, ice skaters use the basin as a rink. Snow is cleared from its icy surface as part of the annual winter festival, “La Fête des Neiges de Montréal.”
Peberholm — literally “Pepper Islet” — is a small artificial island located in the Danish part of the Oresund, forming part of Tarnby municipality. It was created as part of the Oresund Bridge connecting Denmark with Sweden. Peberholm was constructed in the proximity of the small natural island of Saltholm (Salt Islet).
The location was chosen in the belief that it would ensure the freest flow of water through the sound, a key element in the debate about whether or not the bridge should be constructed.
Peberholm is protected by strict laws — only biologists are allowed 1 annual visit to the areas of the island outside of the railroad and highway to which the island owes its creation.
The island is considered to be a biological experiment. Scientists hoped that nature would colonize it and make the island flourish on its own, without any human interaction whatsoever. As of June 2007, scientists from the Biological Society of Lund had registered 454 species of plants on the island.
Flakfortet is a military based sea fortress that was abandoned back in the 60′s located on the artificially built island of Saltholmreb, in Oresund between Copenhagen and Malmo, about 45 minutes sailing from Copenhagen. The island and fort are simply known as Flakfortet — the name of the island, Saltholmreb, is seldom used.
The fortress is constructed at a seabed 23 feet (7 meters) below the water surface, at the northern meeting point of the straits Kongedybet and Hollaenderdybet.
Flakfortet was built from 1910 to 1915 as part of Copenhagen’s sea-fortifications partly from material excavated from Frihavnen.
Gun mounts, where the guns now has been removed. Photo Grovlam
It was the largest sea fortress in the world, and remains the largest completely man-made true island with the area, including wave breakers, of approximately 70 000 sq meters. The buildings total approximately 15 000 sq meters. A HAWK battery was placed on the island, and the fortress continued as a military are until 1984.
Photo Dr Bartel
Until 2001 the island was owned by the Danish Ministry of Defense, who had not used it actively since 1968, and put up it for sale in 1999. In June 2001 it was sold to the Swedish company Malmökranen, but since the fort is a Danish designated protected area, the new owners must maintain the area and make it publicly available.
Willingdon Island is the home of the modern port that serves Kochi in Kerala, India — a man-made island created from the materials dredged while deepening Kochi Port, in Ernakulam district of Kerala in south India. As the seat of the harbor and cochin Port Trust, the Southern Naval Command has its headquarters here.
The pre-planned basic port structure was completed in 1939, just in time for the Second World War. A deep wharf, a rail bridge and a road bridge to the mainland provided valuable infrastructure for the local war effort. A naval works was also constructed on the adjacent Venduruthy Island to the south, where by the end of the war they were busily constructing landing craft for the presumed invasion of Japan.
The Royal Air Force quickly found use for this flat expanse of conveniently located virgin territory, and constructed a large aerodrome, thus becoming a thriving military base. The Malabar Hotel provided quarters for all the wartime staff and the building gained a new administrative block next door to it.
When the British withdrew in 1947 they left behind an indispensable and significant transport hub.
The island aerodrome was extensively developed and became the city’s modern airport. The remaining space on the island was quickly utilized in the 1950′s and became the commercial heart of the ancient metropolis of Cochin.
It’s now a major port in India, and a landmark in the city of Kochi, Kerala, serving as a link between the other sea ports of the world.
Willingdon Island is connected to the mainland by the road and railway Venduruthy Bridge. Navy headquarters are located in this charming island to this day. Cochin shipyard is also located near this island.
Pool Bar at Taj Malabar. Photo FabIndia
The isle now plays an important role in the city of Kochi as a major tourist center, and houses some of the district’s best hotels, and commercial and industrial offices.
Chek Lap Kok
Hong Kong International Airport is the main airport in the western waters of Hong Kong, China, colloquially known as Chek Lap Kok Airport, due to the fact that it was built on the island of Chek Lap Kok by land reclamation, and also to distinguish it from the old Hong Kong Airport (Kai Tak).
Chek Lap Kok was one of the 2 islands — the other being Lam Chau — merged together via land reclamation techniques into to the 8 mile (12.5 sq kilometer) platform for the current Hong Kong International Airport.
It’s connected to the northern side of Lantau Island near the historic village of Tung Chung, now expanded into a new town. Land reclamation for the airport added nearly 1% to the entirety of Hong Kong’s surface area.
View over Hong Kong territory. Photo Roomman
The island has been inhabited on and off since the Middle Neolithic period 6,000 years ago, located north of Lantau Island off Ma Wan Chung and Tung Chung.
The original farming and fishing villages on the island were relocated to Chek Lap Kok Village on Lantau Island. The Romer’s Tree Frog on Chek Lap Kok, a unique species of finger-sized frog found only in Hong Kong, has found its new habitat on Lantau Island before the construction of the airport.
Photo HTTP 2007
The airport opened for commercial operations in 1998, replacing Kai Tak Airport, and is an important regional trans-shipment centre, passenger hub and gateway for destinations in China, East Asia and Southeast Asia.
The airport has won several notable international “Best Airport” awards, currently given a rating of 5 stars by Skytrax’s airport grading exercise along with 2 other airports, operating around-the-clock, capable of handling 45 million passengers and 3 million tons of cargo a year.
Photo Civil Projects
It replaced the former Hong Kong International Airport (popularly known by its former name Kai Tak Airport), which was located in the Kowloon City area with a single runway extending into Kowloon Bay close to the urban built-up areas.
Construction of the new airport was only part of the Airport Core Program, which also involved construction of new road and rail links to the airport. The project is the most expensive airport project ever, according to Guinness World Records.
Tokyo Disneyland is a 115 acre (466,535 sq meter) theme park at the Tokyo Disney Resort located in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, near Tokyo, the first Disney park to be built outside of the United States, opening on April 15, 1983.
The park was constructed by Walt Disney Imagineering in the same style as Disneyland in California and the Magic Kingdom in Florida. Owned by The Oriental Land Company along with its companion park, Tokyo DisneySea, they are the only Disney parks not owned by The Walt Disney Company.
There are 7 themed areas, each complementing each other yet unique in their style — the World Bazaar, the 4 classic Disney land of Adventureland, Westernland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, and 2 mini lands, Critter Country and Mickey’s Toontown.
Cinderella Castle. Photo Mash Down Babylon
Photo Carl Johan
The park is noted for its large open spaces to accommodate the massive crowds the park receives. In 2007, Tokyo Disneyland hosted approximately 13.9 million guests, ranking it as the 3rd-most visited Disneyland park in the world, behind its American sister parks, the Magic Kingdom Orlando and Disneyland Anaheim.
Tokyo Disneyland will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of its grand opening in 2008.
Kawasaki Man-made Island
The Kawasaki Man-Made Island is located in the middle of an undersea tunnel between Kisarazu City and Kawasaki City across the Tokyo bay.
The Trans-Tokyo Bay (TTB) Highway — a 9.3 mile (15 kilometer) road link between Kawasaki City on the Tokyo side and Kisarazu on the other side of Tokyo Bay — consists of 2 tunnels, 2 man-made islands and a bridge. After more than 20 years of feasibility and environmental impact studies, construction work commenced in 1989, and the new crossing opened to the public in December 1997.
Provided to ventilate the undersea tunnel, it consists of 2 ventilation towers — a large tower extending 315 feet (96 meters) above the surface of the ocean and a smaller tower with a height above the ocean surface of 266 feet (81 meters). Because it stands where numerous ships continually pass back and forth, it was designed to appear massive and be conspicuous.
A cylindrical structure with an external diameter of 640 feet (195 meters) located at the midway point of the tunnel, the Kawasaki Man-made Island is almost the same size as the Tokyo Dome.
An extraordinary spring water occurred in the construction work of the Kawasaki Island after the excavation of seabed ground was nearly completed, and cement bentonite and water glass were injected corresponding to the place deemed to be its water channel.
After completing the Kawasaki Man-Made Island, tunnel excavation was begun for the Tokyo Wan Aqua-line is to be housed in 2 tunnels, one with 2 eastbound lanes and one with 2 westbound lanes.
The Aqua-line linking Kisarazu with Kawasaki in just l5 minutes was opened on December 18,1997, forming a new traffic link connecting eastern and western Japan by incorporating the Metropolitan Inter-City Expressway.
Odaiba – Daiba
Odaiba is a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay, Japan, across the Rainbow Bridge from central Tokyo. It was initially built for defensive purposes in the 1800′s, dramatically expanded during the late 20th century as a seaport district, and has developed since the 1990′s as a major commercial, residential and leisure area.
Daiba formally refers to one district of the island development in Minato Ward. The “Odaiba” name is commonly used to refer to the entire Tokyo Waterfront Secondary City Center which includes the Ariake and Aomi districts of Kōtō Ward and the Higashi-Yashio district of Shinagawa Ward.
The name “Odaiba” comes from a series of 6 island fortresses constructed in 1853 by the Tokugawa shogunate in order to protect Edo from attack by sea, the primary threat being Commodore Matthew Perry’s Black Ships which had arrived in the same year.
Daiba in Japanese refers to the cannon batteries placed on the islands. In 1928, the Dai-San Daiba or “No. 3 Battery” was refurbished and opened to the public as the Metropolitan Daiba Park, which remains open to this day.
From the originally planned 11 batteries, only 5 were ever finished. The modern island of Odaiba began to take shape when the Port of Tokyo opened in 1941. Until the mid 1960′s all except 2 batteries were either removed for unhindered passage of ships or incorporated into the Shinagawa port facilities and Tennozu island.
Tokyo governor Shunichi Suzuki began a major development plan in the early 1990′s to redevelop Odaiba as Tokyo Teleport Town, a showcase for futuristic living, with new residential and commercial development housing a population of over 100,000. The redevelopment was scheduled to be complete in time for a planned “International Urban Exposition” in spring 1996.
Suzuki’s successor Yukio Aoshima halted the plan in 1995, by which point over JPY 1 trillion had been spent on the project, and many of the companies set up to develop the island became practically bankrupt.
The area started coming back to life in the late 1990′s as a tourist and leisure zone, with several large hotels and shopping malls, and several large companies moving their headquarters to the island.
In testament that artificial islands can be constructed of nearly anything and ironically named, Dream Island — Yume No Shima or Yumeno-Shima in Japanese — is an artificial island in Tokyo Bay made entirely of trash.
Tropical Greenhouse Dome. Photo Dom.x
It was started in the late 1960′s — though some accounts say it might have been started as early as the late 1950′s or as late as the early 1970′s — by the Tokyo municipal government as a hopeful solution to some of the woes of the garbage problem in the city of Tokyo which was in the throes of great debate about what to do about the tens of thousands of tons of garbage produced daily in the thriving metropolis.
Tropical Greenhouse Dome. Photo Dom.x
At one time the island was even the home of the Daigo Fukuryu Maru, a fishing boat which had been exposed to nuclear fallout during the Bikini Atoll test. Levels of radiation had dropped to safe levels in the mid 1950′s. The boat was sold to a scrap dealer in the 1960′s and abandoned on the isle.
In 1965, Dream Island was the cause of a major plague of flies that spread over the eastern part of Tokyo.
Today the island has been covered over with a layer of top soil and boasts among its features a sports park, Yumenoshima Stadium, a tropical greenhouse, the Fukuryu Maru Memorial Museum, a large-scale yacht harbor, waste disposal and incinerating facilities.
Port Island is an artificial island in Chuo-ku, Kobe, Japan, constructed between 1966 and 1981 at Port of Kobe, and officially opened with an exposition called “Port Pier ’81.” It now houses a heliport, numerous hotels, a large convention center, the UCC Coffee Museum, and several parks.
The Port Liner automated guideway transit system connects Port Island to Sannomiya Station and to Kobe Airport.
Chubu Centrair International Airport
Chubu Centrair International Airport — also known as Central Japan International Airport — is an artificial island in Ise Bay, Tokoname City in Aichi Prefecture, south of Nagoya in central Japan.
Chubu is Japan’s third off-shore airport, after Nagasaki Airport and Kansai International Airport, and second airport on a manmade island.
With much lobbying by local business groups such as Toyota, especially for 24 hour cargo flights, construction started August 2000, with a budget of 768 billion yen ($7.3 billion U.S.).
In addition to cost cutting measures, a number of environmental protection measures had been taken after learning from Kansai International Airport. The artificial island itself was shaped like the rounded letter “D” so that sea currents inside the bay will flow freely.
Its shores were partially constructed with natural rocks and sloped to aid sea life forms to set up colonies. During the construction a species of little tern occasionally came, so a part of it was selected and set aside to aid nesting.
When it opened on February 17, 2005, Apron expansion began in 7 locations in 2006, scheduled to be done in 2010. A second 4000 meter runway is planned, scheduled to be funded in 2008, costing 2 trillion yen (about $17 billion U.S.).
Kobe Airport is on an artificial island just off the coast of Kobe, Japan, primarily handling domestic flights, but can also accommodate international charter flights.
Construction began in September 1999 but political controversy continued. 87,000 signatures were collected in a petition to recall the mayor in 2000, and a citizen lawsuit to cancel the project was dismissed in 2004. The airport finally opened on February 16, 2006.
Both ANA and JAL announced plans to replace portions of their widebody fleet with a larger number of mid-size aircraft, in part because of a need to fill the excess number of flight slots created by Kobe Airport’s construction.
Kobe is already the most indebted municipality in Japan with debts of over ¥3 trillion.
Kansai International Airport
Kansai International Airport — colloquially known as Kankū in Japanese — is located on an artificial island in the middle of Osaka Bay, off the shore of the cities of Sennan and Izumisano and the town of Tajiri in Osaka Prefecture, Japan.
It was ranked 4th overall in the Airport of the Year 2006 awards named by Skytrax, next to Singapore Changi Airport, Hong Kong International Airport and Munich International Airport.
In the 1960′s when the Kansai region was rapidly losing trade to Tokyo, planners proposed a new airport near Kobe and Osaka. Osaka International Airport, located in the densely-populated suburbs of Itami and Toyonaka, was surrounded by buildings and could not be expanded.
Photo El Fotopakismo
After the protests surrounding New Tokyo International Airport (now Narita International Airport), planners decided to build the airport offshore. The new airport was part of a number of new developments to revitalize Osaka, which had been losing economic and cultural ground to Tokyo for most of the century.
Macau International Airport
Macau International Airport situated at the eastern end of Taipa island and neighboring waters, is the only airport in Macau, which opened for commercial operations in November 1995. Since then the airport has been a common transfer point for people traveling between mainland China and Taiwan, as well as a passenger hub for destinations in China and Southeast Asia.
Photo Melinda (chanmelmel)
The airport’s runway was built on a strip of reclaimed land in the sea, adjacent to Taipa Island, where the main terminal and air traffic control facilities are located. The runway is connected to the apron by two causeways.
The airport was opened in November 1995, during Portuguese rule. Before then the territory only had 2 temporary airports for small airplanes, in addition to several permanent heliports The only air services Macau had in the 1990′s were helicopter services operated by East Asia Airlines to Hong Kong.
Thilafushi – Garbage Island
Thilafushi is a manmade island literally made from rubbish — a municipal landfill situated to the west of Malé, located between Kaafu Atoll’s Giraavaru and Gulhifalhu of the Maldives. It’s geographically part of the Vaadhoo channel.
As the only island exclusively designated for garbage, waste from the capital Malé is transported to Thilafushi daily, and the island is continually growing.
Thilafushi was originally a lagoon called ‘Thilafalhu’ with a length of 4.3 miles (7 kilometers) and a width of 657 feet (200 meters) at the shallowest regions. It came into existence following a series of discussions and efforts to resolve Malé’s irrepressible garbage predicament during the early 1990′s. The island received its first load of garbage from Malé on the January 7 1992.
Photo Eyebe (RainMaker)
During its early years of waste disposal operations, pits — also known as cells — were dug, after which the sand obtained from the excavation was used to construct walled enclosures around the internal perimeter of the cells.
Photo m o d e
Waste received from Malé was deposited into the midst of the pit, which was topped off with a layer of construction debris and then uniformly leveled with white sand. Initially there was no segregation of the waste since it had to be disposed immediately due to mass accumulation.
This is an island in Maldives, a tiny island nation south west of Sri Lanka. It was once a reef, but after reclaiming it with garbage and waste it has now become a large island used for industrial purposes.
The smoke you see is from the waste management burning of all the waste brought from the capital. The smell of burnt plastic can be found in much of the hotel and nearby beach areas.
A large boat full of plastic trash from other islands or resorts arrives once a week, lingering at the dock for a day before being unloaded in the small hours.
Surprisingly, the island is impeccably clean — beaches and sand pathways, are all swept clean overnight. Large earthenware ashtrays are set along all paths and on the north, leeward, side beaches.
The house reef surrounds the island between about 25 M. and 100 M. off-shore. Water is crystal clear (except immediately after the cyclones), and teeming with life on both sides of the reef. You do not have to dive or even snorkel to watch fish by the bucket load.
“Rubbish Island” is clearly visible on Google Earth just off Male.
Spiral Island was a floating artificial island in a lagoon near Puerto Aventuras, on the Caribbean coast of Mexico south of Cancun, built by British eco-pioneer Richart (or “Rishi”) Sowa beginning in 1998. Filling nets with empty discarded plastic bottles to support a structure of plywood and bamboo, he poured sand and planted numerous plants, including mangroves.
It was destroyed by Hurricane Emily in 2005, but Sowa announced he would rebuild Spiral Island in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.
The original island sported a 2-story house, a solar oven, a self-composting toilet, and 3 beaches. He used some 250,000 bottles for the 66 foot (20 meter) by 54 foot (16 meter) structure. The mangroves were planted to help keep the island cool, with some rising up to 15 feet (5 meters) high.
Sowa is a musician, artist, and carpenter. Now in his fifties, he is an environmentalist who believes in recycling and low-impact living.
AZ Island is the brainchild of architect Jean-Philippe Zopponi, who joined forces with Alstom Marine Company on a futuristic and revolutionary project for a high-tech, artificial island capable of movement.
If constructed, AZ Island’s oval dimensions will measure 1,313 feet (400 meters) long by 985 feet (300 meters wide) — equivalent to 4 football fields — and 29 floors high, capable of holding up to 10,000 passengers. Its monstrous size will limit its speed to about 4 times slower than a cruise ship.
Since it’s too large to berth, a boat or helicopter will be needed, for which a landing pad and marina have been planned. The island will need to withstand 65-foot (20-meter) high waves and hurricanes.
If the economic feasibility of the project is confirmed, it would be less expensive to construct than the world’s current largest ocean liner, the Queen Mary II – also built by Alstom Marine. But this $3.1 billion US (€2 billion) project is no ordinary construction and a viability test conducted by Alstom has uncovered major construction difficulties.
Our Lady of the Rocks
Our Lady of the Rocks artificial island also called Gospa od Skrpjela is 1 of the 2 islets off the coast of Perast in Bay of Kotor, Montenegro — the other being Sveti Dorde Island — created by bulwark of rocks and by sinking old and seized ships loaded with rocks.
The custom of throwing rocks into the sea is still alive today. Every year at the sunset of July 22, an event called Fasinada, local Croat Catholic residents take their boats and throw rocks into the sea, widening the surface of the island.
The Church of Our Lady of the Rocks in the Bay of Kotor is the church built upon the island. The first known church was built on it in 1452, while today’s church was built in 1632 and upgraded in 1722.
Flevoland is a province of the Netherlands situated in the centre of the country at the former location of island Zuiderzee, established on January 1, 1986 as the 12th province of the country. The province had about 370,000 inhabitants as of 2005.
Flevopolder consists of Zuidelijk Flevoland (Southern Flevoland), Oostelijk Flevoland (Eastern Flevoland) and the Noordoostpolder (North Eastern Polder).
After a flood in 1916, it was decided that the Zuiderzee would be enclosed and reclaimed. In 1932, the Afsluitdijk was completed, which closed off the sea entirely. The Zuiderzee was subsequently called IJsselmeer (lake at the end of the river IJssel).
The first part of the new lake that was reclaimed was the Noordoostpolder (Northeast polder) which included the former islands of Urk and Schokland and included in the province of Overijssel. Other areas were later reclaimed — the Southeastern part in 1957 and the Southwestern part in 1968. The municipalities on the 3 parts became a separate province in 1986.
Eastern Flevoland and Southern Flevoland have peripheral lakes between them and the mainland — the Veluwemeer and Gooimeer respectively, making them together, the world’s largest artificial island at the time.
They are 2 separate polders that have a joint hydrological infrastructure, with a dividing dike in the middle, the Knardijk, that will keep one polder safe should the other be flooded. The pumping stations are the Wortman (diesel powered) at Lelystad-Haven, the Lovink near Harderwijk on the mainland and the Colijn (both electrically powered) along the northern dike beside the Ketelmeer.
Because of the hydrological union of the two Flevolands it simply joins the other 3 in maintaining the water level of both polders. Almere relieves the housing shortage and increasing overcrowding on the old land.
Draining the Flevoland polders found many wrecks of aircraft that crashed into the IJsselmeer during WWII, and fossils of Pleistocene mammals.
IJburg is a residential neighborhood currently under construction in the east of Amsterdam situated in the IJ Lake, being developed on artificial islands which have been raised from the lake. Administratively, IJburg is part of the Zeeburg borough of Amsterdam.
IJburg consists of 6 artificial islands built in the IJ Lake collectively as Phase 1 — Steigereiland (Jetty island), Haveneiland West & East (Harbour island) and the 3 Rieteilanden (Reed islands), Large, Small and East.
Four more islands are planned to be constructed in the future — Centrumeiland (Centre island), Middeneiland (Middle island), Strandeiland (Beach island) and Buiteneiland (Outer island). The plans call for a total of 10 islands to be developed, but construction has been delayed by a Superior Administrative Court decision to annul the building permit of Phase 2 due to lack of consideration for the local environment.
Photo Lauren Manning
Tram to IJburg crossing Enneus Heerma bridge. Photo Kwikzilver
The first residents moved into their houses on Rieteiland in November 2002. Since then people have moved into houses and flats on both Haveneiland and Steigereiland. Due to a slow take-up of properties the construction of phase 1 was delayed, therefore IJburg will not likely be finished in 2012 as planned.
Once complete, the islands will have 18,000 homes for 45,000 residents and should also include employment for 12,000 people.
Barro Colorado Island
Barro Colorado Island (BCI) is located in the man-made Gatun Lake in the middle of the Panama Canal, formed when the waters of the Chagres River were dammed to form Gatun Lake. When the waters rose, they covered a significant part of the existing rainforest, and the hilltops remained as islands in the middle of the lake, with an area of 9.3 square miles (15 sq kilometers).
The island was set aside as a nature reserve by the U.S. Government on April 17 1923.
Initially run by the Panama Canal Company, Barro Colorado Island has been administered by the Smithsonian together with 5 adjacent peninsulas as the Barro Colorado Nature Monument (BCNM) since 1946. The BCNM has an area of 33.5 square miles (54 sq kilometers), perhaps the largest and most studied natural reserve devoted to scientific research in the New World Tropics.
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute has a permanent research center on the island, dedicated to studying rainforest ecosystems. Because the Island’s diverse ecosystem has been altered very little by humans, Barro Colorado has been studied for over 80 years within a great variety of biological disciplines.
Photo Iza de Barbaro
Only the larger fauna disappeared from Barro Colorado after the lake was flooded in 1914. Many scientific studies have been conducted to document the changes in the species composition of the island. Barro Colorado Island is perhaps the most important biological research station in the New World Tropics.
Every year, an estimated 200 scientists conduct research projects on Barro Colorado Island. “The Tapir’s Morning Bath” by Elizabeth Royte chronicles the lives and work of scientists working on the island.
The Uros is the name of a group of pre-Incan people who live on 42 self-fashioned floating man-made islets located in Lake Titicaca off Puno, Peru. The Uros use the Totora plan to construct boats (balsas mats) of bundled dried reeds as well as to build the islands themselves.
The dense roots that the plants develop support the islands, anchored with ropes attached to sticks driven into the bottom of the lake. The reeds at the bottoms of the islands rot away fairly quickly, so new reeds are added to the top constantly.
The islands come and go since they’re built on clumps of floating reeds tied together. After about 30 years, the reeds beneath begin to rot, and the island must be rebuilt.
Many things on the island are made from the Totora reeds, and all parts of the plant are used — from the roots to its stem. Much of the Uros’ diet and medicine also revolve around these reeds. When a reed is pulled, the white bottom is often eaten for iodine which prevents goiter. When in pain, the reed is wrapped around the area to absorb it. They also make a reed flower tea.
Food is cooked with fires placed on piles of stones. To relieve themselves, tiny ‘outhouse’ islands are near the main islands, and the ground root absorbs the waste.
Boat constructed of Totora plant. Photo Quintet
Traditional boats are made from reeds and have heads at the front in the image of different animals. The construction of these boats is remarkably similar to reed boats once used on the Nile River in Egypt.
The purpose of the island settlements was originally defensive, and if a threat arose they could be moved. The largest island retains a watchtower almost entirely constructed of reeds. The larger islands house about 10 families, while smaller ones, only about 100 feet (30 meters) wide, house only 2 or 3.
About 3,000 descendants of the Uros are alive today, although only a few hundred still live on and maintain the islands, as most have moved to the mainland. The Uros also bury their dead on the mainland in special cemeteries.
The Uros traded with the Aymara tribe on the mainland, interbreeding with them and eventually abandoning the Uro language for that of the Aymara, losing their original tongue about 500 years ago. When this pre-Incan civilization was conquered by the Incans, they had to pay taxes to them, and were often made slaves.
The Uros do not reject modern technology — some boats have motors, some houses have solar panels to run appliances such as TV, and the main island is home to an Uros-run FM radio station which plays music for several hours a day.
Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands
Treasure Island is an artificial island in the San Francisco Bay between San Francisco and Oakland, connected by a small isthmus to Yerba Buena Island sitting in the “middle” of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. It was created in 1936 to 1937 for the Golden Gate International Exposition of imported fill on shoals dredged from the bay on the north side of Yerba Buena Island. Yerba Buena Island and Treasure Island together have a land area of 0.901 square miles (2.334 sq kilometers)
The island is named after the novel ‘Treasure Island’ by Robert Louis Stevenson who lived in San Francisco from 1879 to 1880.
Treasure Island is wholly within the City and County of San Francisco, whose territory extends far into San Francisco Bay and to the tip of the island of Alameda, California.
The island has a raised walkway which circumnavigates almost its entire bulk, which is popular for recreation. Sea lions can be observed in the water from the shoreline, and construction of the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge can be seen from the eastern part of the island.
The island has no gas station, and is served by a single bus. Home to low-income San Franciscans and many college students who attend school downtown, it also has a job training center.
In 2005, the Lennar Corporation proposed to build a self-sustaining city on Treasure Island for 5,500 units of housing in several low-rise buildings, restaurants and a ferry terminal facing San Francisco. The plan also contains several midrise towers, four 40-story towers and one 60-story tower called the Sun Tower (formerly Treasure Island Tower).
The plan also includes an organic farm, a wind farm, parkland and tidal marshes. The proposal is designed to be as car-independent as possible, with the ferry terminal and basic goods within a 10-minute walk of the residences.
Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands are home to over 3,000 residents as well as a number of commercial tenants, schools and community serving organizations. The Islands are also open for public use and recreation at all times, and TIDA encourages all Bay Area residents and visitors to take advantage of the Islands’ spectacular location and recreational amenities.
After the Naval Station closed in 1997, Treasure Island was opened to residential and other uses, but according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Toxic Substances Control, the groundwater and air are contaminated with asbestos, plutonium, radium and other substances which are known to cause cancer and other illnesses.
Another risk of living on Treasure Island is the high risk of liquefaction during an earthquake. All of Treasure Island is built on landfill, and few if any of the buildings on the island were built to withstand a major earthquake, much less an earthquake magnified by liquefaction.
Floating Island of Immortals
Located in the North Sea, anchored a few hundred yards / meters from the shore of the Belgian town of Knokke and 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) from the border with The Netherlands, sits an artificial island of stainless steel, glittering and floating in the waves.
The floating rock is the artwork of Chinese sculptor Zhan Wang — an integral part of the ‘Beaufort’ art trail which is a collection of international art spread out over the 42 miles (67 kilometers) of Belgian coast.
A billboard at the beach explains that this work is called “Floating Island of Immortals.” Holy mountains are a constant theme in Chinese landscape art.
On the island, statues of a fisherman and an elf, a cell phone and a computer are created as icons of the past, the present and the future.
Isola di Lolando
Isola di Lolando is a failed artificial island construction project with left its remains scarring north Biscayne Bay near Miami Beach, Florida. A Miami real estate bubble burst in the mid 1920′s as a land boom fueled by outside speculators was stricken by economic realities and unexpected hurricanes.
Concrete pilings from the sea wall of the incomplete Isola di Lolando still remain perfectly aligned in the shape of the “Venetian island,” stretching from the northern tip of Di Lido Island to the Julia Tuttle Causeway.
The pilings sit in about 5 to10 feet of water and extend about 5 to10 feet above the water, depending on the tide. The pilings and the island’s outline shape are clearly visible from the Julia Tuttle Causeway as well as from many of the tall buildings that overlook the bay, presenting a clear hazard to boat navigation.
The interior of the island is a peaceful place that remains free of boat and jet-ski traffic for kayakers, dolphins, manatee, sting rays, manta rays, and many types of fish.
In the early 1920′s audacious developers were known for selling pre-construction property in the middle of Biscayne Bay before the islands had even been built. Demand was strong and there was virtually no environmental regulation, leading developers to envision filling Biscayne Bay with artificial islands.
The Shoreland Company and The Venetian Island Company were attempting to build a chain of new Venetian Islands in the water south of the Julia Tuttle Causeway in north Biscayne Bay. The first was to stretch from the causeway to Di Lido Island, and was to be called Isolda di Lolando, continuing the Venetian theme of the existing successful artificial island projects.
In 1925 the population explosion in South Florida had begun to strain local resources, and railway shipping companies began raising prices. In October the old Danish war ship Prinz Valdemar capsized in the channel in the port of Miami on its way to becoming a floating hotel, blocking shipping access to Miami for weeks.
That summer brought the 1926 Miami Hurricane, which devastated an unprepared populace and heavily damaged local infrastructure. The Shoreland Company went bankrupt in 1927 amid objections to “further mutilation of the waterway.” The 1929 stock market crash and subsequent onset of the Great Depression ensured that Lolando Island was never completed.
Though faint, the island’s wooden pilings and outline can still be seen from space, via Google Earth, Google Maps, and from Yahoo Maps
Island in the Mur
Graz-born Robert Punkenhofer inspired the New York artist and designer Vito Acconci to conceive a plan for an accessible artificial island in the River Mur in Graz for a project of both art and architecture of a 155-foot (47 meter) long reticular steel construction, which was built in 2003 when Graz was the European Capital of Culture.
Vito Acconci created a spectacular new space on the river Mur in a half-opened shell form of an amphitheatre and under a curvaceous dome. Conceived as a meeting place for young and old, it holds a cafe, an amphitheater and a playground. This town’s landmark offers its whole beauty especially during darkness when it’s illuminated with shining blue light.
The curved and twisted shaped structure swimming in the middle of the river is connected to both river banks by shaky bridges which had otherwise been inaccessible.
Photo Thomas Reichart
But what’s called an island, is also in fact a ship, held by an anchor and is stabilized by the 2 footbridges connecting it to the river banks. It even has navigation lights.
The idea of integrating the river Mur into the life of the city came up right at the beginning of the planning phase for the Cultural Capital, as the river not only divides the city, but also connects it.
Further recommended island reads on the web:
7 Island Wonders of the World: Most Amazing, Mysterious, Remote and More
10 Private Islands You Can’t Afford to Live On: Amazing, Exotic and Remote Luxury Retreats