The 8th Continent – Ocean Cleaning and Research Facility by Lenka Petráková

The 8th Continent

Could you imagine the world without the blue ocean? Today, large surfaces covered in marine plastic pollution equal the size of a continent. The one growing in the pacific ocean is called The 8th Continent. For too long, we lived in the delusion that we can not hurt the ocean by our action onshore. We left hundreds of species to get extinct. But today is time to imagine a cleaner, environmentally more sustainable future and ways to achieve it by architectural and technological creations for better tomorrows.

One such invention is the proposed floating station, that is cleaning the ocean and restoring the balance in the marine environment. It collects plastic debris from the surface and breaks it down to recyclable material. The station not only physically improves the water but creates an interdisciplinary platform, to showcase the troubling side of the marine environment. The station consists of five main parts:

1 – The Barrier that serves to collect waste and harvest tidal energy
2 – The Collector, where waste is sorted, biodegraded and stored
3 – The Research and Education Centre to study and showcase the increasingly troubling side of aquatic environments
4 – Greenhouses where plants are grown, and water is desalinated
5 – Living Quarters with support facilities

Each of the main parts is developed based on the required environmental characteristics and the program they carry. The Barrier floats on the water surface and moves waste towards the Collector. The collection technology at the centre of the building is designed to optimize waste handling.

The research and education centre is linked to the Collector and Greenhouses to follow the water processes and study them. Greenhouses are shaped to optimize condensed water collection and resemble large sails to allow wind to navigate the station. The Living Quarters, public spaces and support facilities pass through the building’s centre and connect all parts, geometrically matching the ship’s keel.

The natural forces are affecting the station’s movement and position as well as the inside environment. The floating station is self-sufficient so the station’s elements must cooperate and optimize the power source. The Barrier also collects tidal energy, which powers the turbine to collect the waste.

Solar panels cover Greenhouses and ensure there is enough power for the water reservoirs’ heating, allowing the evaporation of water and its desalination. After the wastewater extraction, the filtered clean water is pumped into the water tank and either desalinated or used for halophilic plants’ hydrophobic cultivation.

The live-giving ocean is suffering, and we need to help restore its balance for our planet’s survival. We can not achieve it only by technology, but we need an interdisciplinary platform to educate people and change their relationship with the marine environment for the generations to come. Source by Lenka Petráková.

  • Location: Pacific Ocean
  • Architect: Lenka Petráková
  • Competition: Jacques Rougerie Foundation Awards
  • Award: 1° prize 2020 GRAND PRIX AWARD for Architecture and Innovation of the Sea
  • Year: 2017 – 2020
  • Images: Courtesy of Lenka Petráková

1 Comment

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