Every year, more than eight million tons of plastic waste end up in the world's oceans, threatening marine life. Located at Oslo's new seaside district, Sørenga, the new Knowledge Center for Plastic and Marine Littering aims to create a meeting point and educational space that inspires the creative solutions needed to overcome the world's growing plastic challenges.
In collaboration with Nordic Ocean Watch and funded by Oslo municipality's Agency for Urban Environment, Snøhetta has designed a new publicly accessible center for learning, research, and knowledge about marine waste's impact on life on earth. The knowledge center serves as an inspirational hub for finding collective solutions to marine littering, by emphasizing the responsibility that lies on each and every one of us to create a cleaner world.
Nordic Ocean Watch
A space for learning
Over the past years, Snøhetta has conducted several plastic research projects such as the educational "Plast" plastic laboratory and the S-1500 chair. The knowledge center is intended as a hub for collecting, sorting, and refining marine plastic waste from the Oslo fjord. It will be a space for the residents of the city to understand plastic as a material, its journey and footprint in the value chain, as well as its inherent qualities. A key ambition is to shift the public's attitude towards used plastic, from regarding it as waste to seeing it as a valuable resource that should be employed in new ways once it has served its original purpose.
The center will be open 24/7, all year round, with the intension to spark curiosity, disseminate knowledge and serve as a meeting point for all age groups. During daytime, school classes can deliver plastic they have collected in the city, adding to the display wall of plastic waste visible from the façade. During nighttime, the center will be a place to gather for idealists, activists, and pessimists alike, partaking in debates and events dedicated to creating a more sustainable world.
Where architecture meets circular economy
Through the knowledge center, Snøhetta aims to set a new standard for effective use of inherent energy in, and reuse of, materials. In this pilot project, local surplus materials that are available at any time will inform the architecture, not the other way around. The construction is set up as a generic and flexible tree construction, that displays various recycled, reused, and leftover materials found at local industrial sites. The construction is also designed to encourage further reuse as it can be easily disassembled.
The knowledge center itself floats on top of a platform made from recycled windmill turbine blades, with an underwater observatory in one of the cut-out turbine blades. The blades are made from glass fiber and have excellent floating capabilities. As of today, many old windmill turbines are misplaced after usage due the difficulties associated with recycling and reusing them, which in turn make them an easily accessible material.