Workshops in Tallinn show how to use local algae in construction

Seaweed in construction.
Seaweed in construction. Source: Kathryn Larsen Studio

The city of Tallinn organizes several English-language workshops to explain the use of common Estonian seaweed: how to harvest it, transform it into bioplastics and use it in construction.

"As the beach season winds down, algae harvesting begins," said architect and workshop organizer Iiris Tähti Toom.

"The undervalued beach greenery has considerable untapped potential as a construction and design material. While algae has been used in Estonia since the 1960s, primarily for food production, algae commonly found in our waters has been used in construction in Scandinavia for more than three centuries."

Seaweed in construction. Source: Kathryn Larsen Studio

She went on to explain that in Denmark, seagrass has been used as a filler in furniture and mattresses, as an insulator for houses in severe climates, and as a substitute for reed in the traditional roofing of village houses in Laesø and Jutland coastal areas.

The seminars are taught by Danish architect and biomaterials researcher Kathryn Larsen, who has experience using algae as a tool for the development of future materials in both Scandinavian and Dutch construction traditions.

"Furcellaria, which is present in Estonian red algae, serves as the base for a bioplastic material that is readily compostable," Larsen explained. "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."

Workshop participants will 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.

Workshops are held in Tallinn on August 26 and 27 at the Kopli 93 reparation house and they are taught in English; you can secure a spot by registering here.

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

Seaweed in construction. Source: Kathryn Larsen Studio


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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