If you’ve ever wanted to see what life was like in a pod floating on top of the ocean, now’s your chance. Developer Ocean Builders has been getting buzz for introducing the SeaPod, an innovative take on marine-based home design that looks like an episode of The Jetsons, only off the beautiful Panamanian coast instead of miles above the mysterious and possibly dystopian surface below.
With the first batch of units under construction in late 2022, interested travelers and even potential home-buyers will be thrilled to take part in what looks to be an almost impossibly serene experience.
However, the launch of the structures got off to a rocky start in September 2022 when a pod tilted on the closing day. According to the company, it “experienced a ballast tank and pumping system malfunction, which caused flooding in the jacuzzi spar.” The flooding passed through the other spars causing the issue.
Ocean Builders says no one was injured in the incident, and the issue was quickly resolved. As reported by “Architectural Digest,” the company’s CEO Grant Romundt said within a few weeks, employees began “taking turns spending a few nights each in the SeaPod.”
Photo Courtesy Ocean Builders
As one would expect, the SeaPod lifestyle doesn’t come cheap. Units range from around $295,000 to around $1.5 million, with fully customizable offerings depending on the customer’s needs and preferences. For example, one couple could have a rock climbing wall installed while their neighbors opted for a patio garden or even a hot tub.
Ocean Builders is selling the dwellings in three different tiers, two of which take place on the water, with the third model, the “GreenPod,” existing as a land-based option.
Of the others, customers can choose between the SeaPod Flagship and the lower-budget EcoPod, which offers the same ocean experience with sacrifices to the size of the living space.
The base model appears luxurious by any standard. The brainchild of a Dutch architect named Koen Olthius, the pod was designed to emphasize residents being able to witness as much of the surrounding environment as possible. The result of this philosophy is a sleek, circular exterior coated in panoramic windows that allow a 360-degree view of the coastal Caribbean.
Each unit includes wooden teak flooring, colorful lights, and blackout curtains for times when the atmosphere is too immersive and distracting to sleep. Residents can expect about 800 square feet of walking-around space split across three floors, with a master bedroom, a kitchen and living area, and an outdoor patio.
The pod sits about 10 feet above the water’s surface, with sensors monitoring the nearby wildlife in case of an appearance from any number of dolphins, whales, or other marine animals living there. Residents can be alerted when these creatures are detected, making sightseeing an almost accidental activity.
Photo Courtesy Ocean Builders
For those wondering whether tenants are expected to catch and eat fish for every meal, fear not — groceries, medications, and any other requested necessities are flown in daily by a network of weather-resistant drones.
Ocean Builders has branded the pods as an experience for the eco-conscious traveler. This claim doesn’t look like an empty marketing tactic, as SeaPods are designed with environmental stewardship as the primary focus.
The company will employ self-driving boats to remove any trash generated by residents, boats that will then be directed to help maintain the greater coastline during off-hours. In terms of marine trash buildup, the operation is expected to be a net positive for the local community.
Even the pod’s exterior is built to preserve the coastal ecosystem. The support column of each unit was created in line with a growing line of thinking regarding ocean conservation, where support structures have been successful as “hubs” for marine animal communities.
Romundt sees the venture as a chance to build a synergetic, earth-conscious community as water levels rise. ”We’ve been motivated by the opportunity to change and challenge the traditional real estate and tourism models and create first-in-class living experiences that can give back to our ocean environment,” he said.