Lenka Petràkovà has designed a prototype ocean station that aims to address the urgent plastic waste problem
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Spotted: Plastic waste in the ocean is currently one of the world’s most severe pollution problems. In an effort to develop means of solving the problem, Slovak designer Lenka Petràkovà has designed a prototype ocean cleaning facility, which earned her the winning prize in an architectural competition for projects posing creative solutions to environmental challenges. Named the 8th Continent, Petràkovà got the idea for its name from the 1.6 million square metres of debris in the North Pacific, which she suggests could be considered the world’s eighth continent. The ocean station is conceptualised to be self-sufficient and also adapt and benefit from the ocean’s environment.
Made up of interconnected petal-shaped buildings that stand on tentacle-like platforms, these components of the 8th Continent all work together to collect plastic debris from the water surface and transform it into recyclable material. Petràkovà’s prototype also features a research and education centre that studies and showcases marine environments, a greenhouse where plants are grown through hydroponic cultivation, and living facilities for the station’s researchers. Furthermore, the buildings are able to withstand the harsh ocean conditions, as they’re built to allow wind to pass through the station, they can also collect water for irrigation and harness tidal and solar energy.
The 8th Continent was awarded the 2020 Grand Prix Award for Architecture and Innovation of the Sea from La Fondation Jacques Rougerie, a French institute that awards visionary projects that encourage sustainable collaborations between scientists and designers.
Written By: Serafina Basciano