Where the Fishes Sleep: Underwater Homes Shelter Wildlife

Artist Jason deCaires Taylor is no stranger to the otherworldly underwater environment. In fact, he has created some of the most amazing, ethereal scenes one can ever see beneath the surface. Now, he is turning his attention to architecture…in a way. The homes he created are actually meant to be used as homes by a variety of underwater creatures.

(all images via: Jason deCaires Taylor)

The Urban Reef project is located just off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. At a depth of eight meters, a small group of houses stands silent and seemingly empty. However, they are in reality teeming with life. The artist built these houses to supplement the vanishing underwater coral habitats of fish and crustaceans.

The coral in the area has been steadily dying off due to increased ocean pollution. The coral is an important part of the ecosystem that helps to keep the coastline healthy while providing a home for underwater creatures. Those creatures are left homeless without it, which is just what Jason deCaires Taylor is trying to remedy.

Part of the appeal of the underwater houses is their similarity to our own above-ground abodes. The homes look very similar to human houses, but they have features that make them ideal for their unique setting. Special openings encourage marine life to use the sculptures as homes while other details promote the growth of new, natural coral.