Move over Andrew Ryan: a Japanese engineering firm wants to build its own version of the underwater city Rapture.

Shimizu Corporation states that the technology it needs for its planned underwater city will be ready in a little over a decade.

The company is building the city in response to climate change, which has resulted in a dramatic rise in the world's oceans. Considering that 70 percent of the Earth's surface is already covered in ocean, Shimizu believes that "the deep sea offers enormous potential for ensuring effective and appropriate cycles and process in the Earth's bioshere."

Hence, Shimizu's determination to create the world's first underwater city, just like BioShock's Rapture, but without the splicers, Big Daddies and Little Sisters (we hope). The company will construct its city, called Ocean Spiral, in the deep sea and it will consist of a large floating sphere for businesses, hotels and houses, along with a large spiral pipe that connects to the ocean floor. That pod will provide energy resources from the seabed that will power the city.

(Photo : Shimizu)

It's a lofty, and perhaps seemingly unrealistic, goal, but Shimizu believes that an underwater city is a viable way for people of the future to live and deal with the very real threat of climate change.

"Breaking free from past patterns of land development, which have focused mainly on efficiency, this plan is intended to promote true sustainability while maximizing use of the deep sea's resources," writes the company on its website.

Of course, the technology to use resources from the ocean floor for energy has not yet been developed, but Shimizu believes that we'll see solutions in 15 years' time and that the city will take just five years to build after that. The idea is to use micro-organisms that live on the bottom of the ocean that take in carbon dioxide and spit out methane for power, as well as generators that can use differences in water temperature for creating more energy.

Shimizu points out that the city will be safe from natural disasters, such as typhoons and earthquakes and will also be healthier because its oxygen levels will be better than above ground.

Currently, the company is working with experts from universities, governments and energy firms on the project. It states that its underwater city is not just a "pipe dream," but something they will make real.

"This large-scale concept seeks to take advantage of the limitless possibilities of the deep sea by linking together vertically the air, sea surface, deep sea, and sea floor," writes Shimizu. "Now is the time for us to create a new interface with the deep sea, the Earth's final frontier."

Meanwhile, while you're waiting for the life-sized version of Rapture, you can always create a smaller version for your fish tank.

[Photo Credit: 2K Games]

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