The 8th continent is an award-winning design that restores ocean health and recycles plastic along the way.
Senior designer at Zaha Hadid Architects in London, Lenka Petráková, developed the idea for her student master thesis at the University of Applied Arts in Studio Hani Rashid a few years ago after having studied ocean pollution.
"I realised how destroyed the oceans are and how many species are extinct, how much pollution is there, and that the parts that may have never seen a human being, feel the effects of our activities," she says.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), at least 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the sea every year. And a majority of this plastic ends up in our food and body. On top of this, 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by plastic pollution annually.
Petráková reworked her ideas a few months ago and the final concept has just scooped her the 2020 Grand Prix award for architecture and innovation of the sea, at the competition launched by Foundation Jacques Rougerie.
The designer was inspired by marine life when coming up with her project. She created the floating station to be a "living organism that is fully self-sustainable," she says.
"I was looking into marine species, animals as well as plants. And I was studying how they really interact with water environments, how they can harvest energy and how they work with nutritions, for example."
Her idea was not only to design a concept that cleans the ocean but one that also restores its health.
The station removes plastic from the sea and houses research and education facilities as well as an ocean plastic recycle centre. It produces its own energy and is equipped with greenhouses and desalination centres.
Click on the video above to learn more about this project.