At 15, I remember viewing the first movie that I felt a strong urge to walk out of because out of sheer boredom and because, well, I thought the offending film was total crap. I was on vacation with my parents in Whistler, British Columbia, and for some reason or another I found myself in a darkened auditorium spending two excruciating hours with the late, great Dennis Hopper.
In the film, an eye-patched Hopper overacts his head off while chain-smoking, swigging Jack Daniels, and zooming around on a jet ski in some kind of filthy, post-apocalyptic pirate outfit. Yep, I’m talking about the notorious Kevin Costner flop, “Waterworld.” Boy, that was a stinker (note that I’ve only walked out of one movie since then and I have Richard Linklatter to thank for that).
It’s because of “Waterworld” that every time I hear about plans for an offshore oil rig to be repurposed into something else — like as a luxurious aqua-resort or a diving center, for example — I grimace a bit.
And after seeing the conceptual renderings of Ku Yee Kee and Hor Sue-Wern’s playfully wild idea where decommissioned oil rigs are transformed into self-sufficient apartment complexes/marine research stations, Dennis Hopper, eyepatch, jet ski, and all, comes roaring back into my consciousness.
This design tackles current environmental issues, specifically at abandoned oil rig structures all around the world. The idea is to revitalize these structures and transform them into livable hubs. This activation process will use green energy and create a sustainable urban habitat. Solar energy will be harvested with a large photovoltaic membrane located on the roof while wind turbines will be located at strategic places along the four façades and tidal energy collectors at the bottom.
This design explores the possibility of living on the oil rig, above and below the ocean level. The general population can live above the water while specialized researchers such as marine biologists will work in underwater labs. The in-between zone will be used for housing and recreational areas. The existing structures could be strengthen with the use of peripheral steel beams that allow for high velocity wind to filter through the platform without obstructions.
Ecofriend muses: "Maybe these innovative designs will take shape in the near future and offer us this perfect habitat that seems to be right out of the pages of an enthralling science fiction novel!" This is doubtful but it does make me wonder about the afterlife of the thousands of industrial eyesores just sitting unused in our oceans. Have you ever had any creative thoughts on how to make good use out of decommissioned oil rigs?