One day spring travel could mean sight-seeing from a floating garden shaped like a whale. This is no tourist gimmick, though -- it's an environmental vessel designed to clean waterways worldwide.

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The concept originally came from French architect Vincent Callebaut, known for his eco-topian designs. He called the project Physalia after the Greek expression for water bubble. His translucent vessel would be entirely self-sustaining, removing pollution along the way. Hat tip Inhabitat.

In Callebaut's vision, Physalia would process chemical pollution from other boats and industrial waste in two ways. Gardens on board would serve as a biological filter while a titanium dioxide exterior would react with sunlight to remove specific pollutants from the water. Sounds like magic, but that technology does exist.

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More recently Callebaut designed 45 energy-efficient villas for Kunming in Yunnan Province, China. That project, called "The Flavours Orchard," calls for homes shaped like Möbius strips, shells and mountains. The fantastical smart grid villa designs incorporate green roofs, solar panels, community gardens and underground spaces for electric car parking and charging. Sounds like eco-topia to me.