Ocean Science Centre Mindelo – Laying of first stone on the Cape Verde Islands

01_Helder DiasAfter nearly two years of planning and coordination work, the construction of the “Ocean Science Centre Mindelo” (OSCM), a scientific platform for marine and atmospheric research off West Africa, can finally start. The building was planned in partnership between the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and the Cape Verdean Institute for Fisheries Development (INDP) in Mindelo, the capital of the Cape Verdean Island of São Vicente. A further partner involved is the TROPOS Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research. The total cost of the center is 2.5 million euros.

GEOMAR and INDP can already look back on a 10-year long partnership. A first workshop funded by the Volkswagen Foundation was held in 2004, and already then carried the title “Towards a West African Science Logistics Centre in Cape Verde”. It took a whole decade to turn this vision into reality. The project has also benefitted from the transfer of the Kiel marine research institution to the Helmholtz Association. Strong support for the OSCM came from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). This research infrastructure will further enhance the extremely successful research that scientists from all over the world have conducted in this region for several years.

OSCM_02A characteristic feature of the future building is a central drive-through hall, inspired by the “Lithothek” at GEOMAR. Attached are workshops, laboratories and storage rooms. Another wing of the building will provide offices, conference rooms and lounges. Many departments of GEOMAR were involved in the planning with the Cape Verdean-German architectural office of Pedro Gregório Lopes. For the Cape Verdes, the OSCM is a unique of its kind, but its approach is consistent. A photovoltaic plant will make use of the sun, during the rainy season from August to November water is collected in cisterns below the building and later used to wash the solar panels and water the green roof top garden. The roof itself is ventilated by the incoming trade winds with a cooling effect for the interior of the building.

Determination and commitment of the partner institutes GEOMAR, INDP and TROPOS were now rewarded. On 18th of November the first stone ceremony for the building took place. Furthermore, the project perfectly fits into the strategic planning of the country. The Cape Verde Islands, as an island state and geostrategic crossroads between Europe, Africa, South and North America, have committed themselves to their natural resources, sun, wind and water, and to benefit from their sustainable use. Many projects aim at the expansion of the maritime sector. The OSCM integrates perfectly with these goals. For May 2015, the celebration of the topping-out ceremony and the 10th anniversary of the cooperation is planned, embedded in a scientific summer school of the graduate research school programmes HOSST and TOSST with many international partners.

Completion is scheduled for summer 2016, when the center will be handed over to the international atmospheric and marine research community. There is now an exciting construction phase lying ahead of the partners of GEOMAR, INDP and TROPOS. “We wish all involved builders and architects every success and the best of luck!”

Further information and a webcam link can be accessed via:  http://cvoo.geomar.de/index.php?id=89