New Atlantis rises from the waves

10.03.35: NEW ATLANTIS has emerged from the foam after a decade of building in the shallow seas between Japan and Korea.

It is the most ambitious offshore construction project ever seen.

The colonising of the seas began with airports: as air traffic became busier, artificial islands were built to site ever grander airports, as at Hong Kong and Osaka in Japan in the last century.

Then, human pressure on land led to plans for skyscraper cities rising from the sea. As long ago as 1990, Shin Takamatsu, a Japanese architect, designed what he called Future Port City in Tokyo Bay, a series of then futuristic towers based on a man-made atoll. The date he put on his plan for its realisation was 2050.

New Atlantis, with its convincing craggy coastline, lush interior and soaring spires, employed the world's top architects and engineers. Its formidable concealed defences will see off the marauding pirates of the Pacific rim. But there is a problem. Both Japan and China have staked their claim to the territory, and both possess terrifying military might. New Atlantis could sink as suddenly as the old one. HP