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This Stunning Floating Ocean Research Station Won The 2020 Grand Prix Award For Architecture And Innovation Of The Sea

Published 3 weeks ago

Lenka Petráková is a Slovak architect who designed a breathtaking floating ocean cleaning and research facility named 8th Continent as her thesis project back in 2017. Recently, her project started making rounds again after the Jacques Rougerie Foundation awarded the project the 2020 Grand Prix Award for Architecture and Innovation of the Sea.

According to the architect, the name 8th Continent comes from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is often nicknamed “The 8th Continent”. Lenka says that the object combines a research and education facility with an ocean plastic recycling center. “The project uses marine science and knowledge to showcase the increasingly troubling side of marine environments, not as a new phenomenon, but as the result of centuries of human – ocean interactions,” explains the architect. “This unique meeting platform should bring people to this distant environment and fight against the dilution that we cannot hurt the ocean by our action onshore.”

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Slovak architect Lenka Petráková designed an amazing floating ocean cleaning an research facility named 8th Continent

Image source: Lenka Petráková

Lenka says that one of the most critical aspects when designing a project like this is considering its relationship with the environment and its surroundings. “This ocean intervention cannot be reached by refining the static object alone but must address complex interactions,” explains the architect. “The floating station is, therefore, not just dealing with environmental issues considering cleaning the ocean. Still, the station reflects processes that occur on water and learn from marine organisms’ biological functions.”

The project was recently awarded the 2020 Grand Prix Award for Architecture and Innovation of the Sea

Image source: Lenka Petráková

According to the architect, it is essential that the system maintains its stability while still allowing change and adaptation to occur. This dynamic architecture is first influenced, transformed and organised by ecology systems, allowing architecture to recreate ecology reciprocally,” says Lenka.

Image source: Lenka Petráková
8th Continent 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

Image source: Lenka Petráková

Lenka explains that 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,” explains the architect. “The research and education centre is linked to the Collector and Greenhouses to follow the water processes and study them.”

Image source: Lenka Petráková

“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.”

Image source: Lenka Petráková

Since the station is floating, natural forces would affect its movement and position, as well as the inside environment. 8th Continent would also be entirely self-sufficient, therefore its elements would have to cooperate to 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,” explains Lenka. “After the wastewater extraction, the filtered clean water is pumped into the water tank and either desalinated or used for halophilic plants’ hydrophobic cultivation.”

Image source: Lenka Petráková

“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,” concludes the architect.

See more details about the project in the video below

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2020 Grand Prix, 8th Continent, architecture, concept, Lenka Petráková, Ocean Cleanup
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