Is it a research vessel? A floating art installation? A bio-filter for rivers? The Physalia, a whale-shaped ship concept by architect Vincent Callebaut, is all of these things and more.
According to Green Muze, the ship was inspired by the Physalia physalis jellyfish, which is actually a colony of four distinct but symbiotic organisms. In a similar vein, the Physalia features four distinct on-board “gardens” themed after the four elements: earth, air, water and fire. (Yes, fire; the plans call for “a huge fire timbale burning in the fire-proofed hull of the vessel.”) Beyond all that, though, the Physalia would also have a practical mission: ferrying scientific researchers down Europe’s rivers while cleaning up pollution.
The Physalia would accomplish this first by means of a plated hull covered in Ti02, which apparently would create a photo-catalytic effect that would help to absorb and purify the chemical waste of traditional boats and “industrialists.” The project would also make use of a double hull crossed with a hydraulic network that would allow it to take on river water and clean it biologically by means a green planted roof.