Global economy relies a lot on oil and oil relies on these mammoth vessels that transport it from one place to another. This argument would make it look like as if the only task for these vessels is to transport and there is no other use of them, right? A group of architects, however, has come up with a proposal on how to reuse these vessels as infrastructure.
As of now, all the oil tankers that are decommissioned undergo the process of scrapping in ship graveyards within developing countries. The workers take up the task of tearing apart these ships by hand – quite a dangerous job by the way – while tackling toxic chemicals and remnants of oil. All this effort is done to salvage metal that can be sold off as scrap for a small margin of profit. Governments and shipping industry are trying to stop this practice, however, the question of what to do with the decommissioned tankers has still not been answered.
Chriss Collaris, Ruben Esser, Sander Bakker and Patrick can der Gronde, a group of Dutch designers are coming up with a way of repurposing the decommissioned vessels and the project has been named as Black Gold. The project is purely a conceptual proposal as of now and talks about taking an abandoned vessel – as big as Willis Tower – and then reusing it as a public building.
According to the team, “oversupply in crude oil and oil tanker ships [and] changing transportation systems as future transatlantic pipe connections” thus rendering these vessels irrelevant over time. What will be done with the ships then? Collaris has proposed that the internal structure of the tanker should be removed and then replaced with traditional floor-plates. These tankers already sport huge beds and it would be quite easy to incorporate an ad hoc structure inside the big steel shell.
As per the proposal, a wide and open rectangle shall be cut through the sides of the shop thus creating an air flow and interior styling similar to the airplane hangar allowing for free passage of wind and sunshine. The entrance shall be connected to the coastline by making use of a winding pedestrian walkway. You could find a sculpture garden or a commercial plaza inside with the top being used for recreation or for farming.
The team has proposed the idea of a cultural center located in one of the countries on the Persian Gulf since most of the oil comes from here. The idea sure is interesting and although is just conceptual may very well be brought into existence one day soon.