The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was the inspiration for the Plastic Fish Tower, an orb-like underwater skyscraper that recently caught our eye as an honorable mention in eVolo’s 2012 skyscraper competition. The spherical structure was designed by the South Korean team of Kim Hongseop, Cho Hyunbeom, Yoom Sunhee and Yoom Hyungsoo, and it’s more than just a cool-looking futuristic building – it’s designed to suck in plastic from the massive pacific garbage patch and reprocess it, helping to slowly clear the debris which currently spans a whopping 8.1% of the sea.

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green design, eco design, sustainable design, Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Plastic Fish Tower, Evolo Skyscraper competition, Kim Hongseop, Cho Hyunbeom, Yoom Sunhee, Yoom Hyungsoo, plastic recycling

The Plastic Fish Tower is an underwater structure that would float and bob on the surface of the ocean, navigating through the GPGP. The patch is made up of mostly of plastic, which gets broken down by the sun and elements into tiny pellets that harm birds, sea mammals and fish. The tower, which is really more of an orb, would be encircled with a mesh sphere that is 3,280 feet in diameter. As it floats through the garbage patch, it would suck in and trap the plastic pellets that it came in contact with.

Inside the structure, the pellets would be recycled into small sheets of plastic, which would later be used to help build fish farms. The Plastic Fish Tower would not only recycle and remove plastic pollution from the world’s waters, it would use the same pollutants to help rebuild the fragile ecosystem beneath the GPGP as the plastic could also help keep the structure buoyant.

The team hopes that the Plastic Fish Tower will also attract eco-tourists to the GPGP, sparking interest for environmental education. Ideally, the tourist transport ships would also be fueled with chemicals extracted during the recycling process, but the team has yet to find a method to do so.

The team planned the Plastic Fish Tower to also host both above and below-water residential and leisure spaces connected by underwater bridges. The tower’s cleansing function outweighs the team’s residential plans, but could still be a benefit to cleaning up the expansive Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

+ eVolo Skyscraper Competition