Seymour Powell has developed concept plans for a giant luxury airship – the Aircruise – in a scheme funded by Samsung Construction & Trading.
The consultancy has worked up full technical specifications and visualisations for the 265m-tall airship. The Aircruise proposal started as a self-initiated transport project several years ago, according to Seymour Powell design director Nick Talbot. He says, ‘We got to thinking about proposals based on time being the real luxury in the future, and how you might travel if you had a lot of time.’ He says that, after consideringideas including aircraft interiors and cruise ships, the team settled on developing a new type of airship.
Talbot says, ‘We looked at creating something that would look like a skyscraper when docked, and then magically liftinto the sky.’ After developing the proposals into specificationsand a series of schematics about 18 months ago, Talbot says Seymour Powell started using the project during credentials pitches. The consultancy showed it to South Korean firm Samsung C&T.
‘It got very excited about it,’ according to Talbot. Samsung C&T funded Seymour Powell to further develop and refine the idea, as well as to produce visuals and an animation showing the Aircruise in flight. Talbot adds that Samsung C&T also worked on research about how the airship might dock.
The Aircruise concept is for a 270-tonne structure, which would make it about the same weight as an empty Airbus A380 super jumbo aeroplane. It would be lifted by bags containing 330 000m3 of hydrogen gas. Seymour Powell’s specifications say, ‘Despite the perceived risks, hydrogen is used for its inherent lifting efficiency and as a power source.’ Additional power would come from solar panel cells on the upper part of the craft.
It would contain a hotel featuring a penthouse, four duplex apartments and five smaller apartments. There would be a bar and lounge, and two communal decks, as well as a control deck. The craft would be crewed by six staff, who would work in shifts, while 14 support staff would work in the hotel.
The airship would be able to fly up to an altitude of 3500m, and would be able to cruise at speeds of 100-150km/h, allowing it to fly from London to New York in 37 hours, or London to Shanghai in 90 hours. Seung Min Kim, design director at Samsung C&T, says, ‘This was a dream concept project for us, helping to realise a future of sustainable buildings combined with innovative and luxury lifestyle.
‘In an age when environmental impact is a key consideration for architecture, we are keen to extend this vision of the future by searching for solutions that can be realised by 2015 – the year that many futurologists foresee as the turning point for the future.’ Talbot says while Samsung C&T is ‘certainly not’ going to build the Aircruise project at the moment, it has ‘inspired it to think about the next step in building construction’.
Weight 270 tonnes
Service ceiling 3500m