Beach greenery to be transformed into valuable design resource

  • 2023-08-21

During the European Green Capital year, algae construction workshops will be held in Tallinn on 26 and 27 August at the Kopli 93 reparation house, introducing the diverse potential uses of various common Estonian algae. The event teaches participants where to find local algae, how to harvest it and how to transform it into bioplastics and building panels using materials available at home.

“As the beach season ends, algae harvesting begins,” said the organiser of the workshops, Architect Iiris Tähti Toom. “The underappreciated beach greenery holds significant hidden potential for use as a construction and design material. While algae has been utilised in Estonia since the 1960s, mainly in food production, algae commonly found in our waters has, for example, been employed in construction in Scandinavia for over 300 years.” She further added that in Denmark, seagrass has been utilised as a filling in furniture and mattresses, for insulating houses in the harsh climate and as an alternative to reed in traditional village house roofing in Læsø and Jutland coastal areas.

The workshops are instructed by Danish Architect and Biomaterials Researcher Kathryn Larsen, who has experience in utilising algae in both Scandinavian construction heritage and in the Netherlands as a developmental tool for future materials. “Furcellaria, which is present in Estonian red algae, serves as the base for a bioplastic material that is readily compostable,” said Larsen. “This bioplastic holds the potential to replace many non-combustible petroleum-based plastic products, which often end up as litter in the sea after their use.”

Participants have the opportunity to explore the material’s entire life cycle, creating personal models and prototypes to take home. All the necessary tools and materials are present at the workshops. The workshops are free and do not require any prior knowledge or experience in the field.

Additional info and the timetable can be found on Facebook:

While we encourage everyone to participate, the number of available spots is limited. You can secure a spot by registering here.

The workshops are a part of the Tallinn European Green Capital 2023 programme.