Images courtesy of Chris Collaris, Ruben Esser, Sander Bakker, & Patrick van der Gronde
High rise developments, airports, science and technology centers, universities, chain hotels, shopping malls, and museums now fill the deserts of the southern gulf region. The unprecedented financial boom of some Arab states have caused the area great wealth, and with it an ever-increasing amount of cultural criticism and aversion towards examples of some of the world’s most unconsidered, pretentious architecture. to reconnect the area to the root cause of its mass-expansion, Chris Collaris design — along with Ruben Esser, Sander Bakker, and Patrick van der Gronde — created the ‘Black Gold Project’.
For the group of designers, the mega oil-tanker is the most accurate representation of the geographic, economic, and cultural history of the arabic oil states. However, due to the world’s societies looking with escalating urgency to quell dependency on fossil fuel based technologies, future decades may feature some unforeseen consequences. the first of which already took place, when in 2008 the United States, European, and Chinese economies fell into a deep rut. This, combined with an unchanging supply, led to a historic fall in crude oil prices. while oil tanker profits have remained fairly consistent, oversupply of oil, ships, and the possibility of transatlantic pipe connections will eventually spell disaster for a growing fleet of vessels.
The ‘Black Gold Project’, aims to address this problem when it happens. The concept involves the conversion and renovation of mega oil-tankers for land-based use. Organization of interior storage volumes and tanks provide nearly infinite possibilities for adaptations and functional applications. Double steel walls are able to facilitate a sustainable climate suited for either short or long visits. The enormous base area is able to accommodate huge-events, and the interior height makes it possible to stack multiple open or closed volumes within. Possible uses include museums, cultural exhibitions, shopping, or if properly adapted, long-term residences. Above, the renovated deck can provide scenic views and plenty of space for visitors to walk and socialize.