John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Architects dream of the days when “Hello” becomes “Ahoy!”
It’s hard to imagine oil tankers disappearing anytime soon. Yet Amsterdam’s Chris Collaris believes it could happen, either from the rise of clean energy, economic crises cutting demand for crude, or the construction of oceanic pipelines.
So Collaris and other designers have devised a contingency plan should the seas get flooded with unwanted tankers: Drag them close to shore and pimp them out as trendy developments. They’d cut yawning holes through the vessels to create sunny entrances, and outfit the interior with commercial and residential complexes. Crowds could even drive right into the converted tankers on roadways elevated above the waves.
Here’s how the designers envision their inaugural ship, dubbed “The Black Gold”:
The inside height makes it possible to stack multiple open floor areas or closed building volumes within the body of the ship. But also big open spaces for museum and cultural exhibition are within the ships’ enormous interior volume potential. Places for longer stay or exceptional acoustic demands can easily be accommodated in extra box structures within the vessels’ body. The enormous body of the ship can accommodate a serious village area. The renovated deck accommodates a swimming pool with glass bottom on top of the ships’ main entrance and a pedestrian scenic night route is accommodated on top of the former deck piping.
The project smells intensely of architectural fantasy—one would think the owners of these tankers would simply recycle the steel for cash. Still, you got to admire the designers’ willingness to think really, really big: