Planet Care

221: Petráková’s 8th Continent


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.

Solution: “The 8th Continent”

Lenka Petráková, a Slovakian-born Senior Architect at Zaha Hadid Architects has come up with a design for a huge floating station that collects plastic debris from the water’s surface and breaks it down into recyclable material. She calls it The 8th Continent.

The structure is designed for the Pacific Ocean and it is composed of five main parts: the barrier, the collector, the research and education centre, greenhouses, and living quarters with support facilities.

The barrier serves to collect waste and harvest tidal energy. The waste is then sorted, biodegraded and stored in the collector. As well as cleaning up the water, Petráková also imagines the floating station as an interdisciplinary platform.

The research and education centre is, therefore, a place to study and demonstrate the increasingly worrying conditions of marine environments.

Each of the five parts is adapted to suit its function. The barrier floats on the water’s 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.

Natural forces affect 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 8th Continent was awarded the 2020 grand prix award for architecture and innovation of the sea following a competition launched by the Foundation Jacques Rougerie Génération Espace Mer – Institut de France

It has still to be built.

Visit us tomorrow for Solution 222: The Earth Charter

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