Hydro-Net by IwamotoScott


San Francisco architects IwamotoScott have won a competition to propose a futuristic vision of their city, organised by the History Channel.

Hydro-Net proposes a new, underground network of tunnels for hydrogen-powered, hovering vehicles plus a forest of new towers sprouting from lowland areas inundated by rising sea levels.

The project will now compete against History Channel City of the Future winners from Washington DC and Atlanta, with an overall winner being chosen by public vote.

See a full set of images of IwamotoScott's project on Flickr.

Here's more info from the architects:


2008 IwamotoScott wins City of the Future SF

IwamotoScott won the Grand Prize in the History Channel's City of the Future: A Design and Engineering Challenge, San Francisco. The competition was held Jan. 20, at the Ferry Building, against 7 other teams including: Anderson, Anderson Architecture; Fougeron Architecture; Gelfand Partners Architects; IF Architecture; Kuth Ranieri Architects; Pfau Architecture; and SLOMobility. The brief asked each architect to rethink and envision San Francisco 100 years in the future, with one week to design and 3 hours to install their project. IwamotoScott now goes up against the Grand Prize winners of Washington DC and Atlanta for the title of National Champion, via an online public voting process.

Please check the History Channel online for voting starting February 4.

History Channel City of the Future - San Francisco 2108
IwamotoScott Architecture


Cities of the future will need to be evermore interconnected yet also more self-reliant. In order to accommodate a projected doubling of population by 2108 while resisting further outward sprawl, the Bay Area and San Francisco together will require a new infrastructural network that is able to collect and distribute water, power, fuel, goods, and accommodate the transport of residents and tourists alike.

Symbiotic and multi-scalar, SF HYDRO-NET is an occupiable infrastructure that organizes critical flows of the city. HYDRO-NET provides an underground arterial traffic network for hydrogen-fueled hover-cars, and simultaneously collects, distributes and stores water and power tapped from aquifers and geothermal energy housed within the earth below San Francisco. Built with automated drilling robots, HYDRO-NET’s tunnel walls are structured using carbon nanotubes.

A new aquaculture zone of algae ponds and forests of sinuous towers reoccupy Baylands impacted by rising seas of global warming. The algae grown here is the raw material for producing hydrogen fuel, stored and distributed within HYDRO-NET’s nanotube tunnel walls. At key waterfront and neighborhood nodal points, HYDRO-NET emerges to form linkages between the above and below worlds. Here new architectures ‘bloom’ in the form of opportunistic ‘urban caves, reeds and outcroppings’, fostering new social spaces and urban forms fed by the resources and connectivity provided by HYDRO-NET.

project credits:

lead designers: Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott

project team: Cassiano Bonjardim, Sean Canty, Chris Chalmers, Andrew Clemenza, Manuel Diaz, Ryan Golenberg, Wei Huang, John Kim, Charles Lee, Stephanie Lin, Dan Sullivan

special thanks: Christina Kaneva

Posted on Friday February 8th 2008 at 5:43 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • rodger


  • chili

    oh my…
    I hate to say it – but is this seriously what people imagine SF will be in the future? Digital nonsense.

  • redster

    Design — pretty much the same you see allover the world in
    any architecture school with a maya license.

    Idea – Urban matt network with towers growing out of it – seen it done
    ten times better aleady – in architecture school.

    The text – sounds like they scrolled through the keywords of last years Scietific American and then merged it in one text-

    Lets take a closer look:
    Nano tubes – yeah sounds cool – but why on earth would you need something that is smaller as hair for a structure as banal as a tunnel ?

    Then fuel producing algea in a tunnel wall – hmm – wouldn´t that be problem if a car crashes into the fuely part … u know fire will be a probelm in the future – right?

    The fuel algea is running through all of the city … sounds like a hugh blast to me … but it´s the future the why care somebody will fix it tell then – right?

    Why not just propse Stargate Atlantis – would be just as reasoable –
    only they had the better tech advisers.

  • Elizabeth Baldini

    Beauty, function, and rejuvenation are all beyond ordinary imagination.
    Congratulations on producing this design!!

    Elizabeth Lin Baldini

  • Bozo

    What? Ridiculous.

  • citicritter

    And we should buy that its “ridiculous” from someone named Bozo?

    Most everyone I know who saw the project, particularly in the context of the one week long competition, thought it was pretty amazing, and it seemed actually backed up by some pretty sound research.

  • Lite

    They really found out a way to screw up with such a nice city!!

  • vortekxt

    Oh, Lite, so the city should stay just the way it is now in 100 years? But with twice the population, and choked with traffic? The point of the competition was to speculate, and offer a vision, and attempt to solve some real problems.

    This scheme is in fact largely invisible (underground), with just a few new buildings proposed, and you sound like all the other NIMBYs in SF: afraid of change.

  • Jon

    Homogenized weeds.

  • vortekxt

    Sounds tasty.

  • This looks really nice!