The project is for a new settlement in the Alberta Oil Sands, in Canada. The oil sands are one of the key ecological and energy dilemmas of our time. First discovered in the late 1960s, they cover an area greater than half of Victoria. Hitherto the recent rising price of oil, they were economically inviable. Thus, until recently, they were relatively undeveloped. Now, they are the largest mining operation in the world, moving earth at unprecedented rates, and in the process making Canada the world’s second largest holder of oil reserves. The oil sands are causing a verifiable “oil rush” as what were once mere pit stops along highways become towns and even cities. What form exactly does a settlement on the oil sands take? Will this town be like other existing single-industry towns, like Fort McMurray? Or, will this town be more like a research station, such as Halley VI? Will this town be ultra-practical, and immediately realisable? Or, will it be visionary and polemical, akin to the visionary propositions of Garnier, Neutra, Soleri, or Archigram? Is it a bedroom community, sprawling over the landscape akin to suburbia? Is it a vision of a new ecological future — a complete rearrangement and relocalisation of ecological systems into a sort of permaculture, perhaps? Is it a Net Zero town, or a petrochemical by-product?
Fleur Christian, Megan Doody, Dan Paraschivoiu, Hosna Saleem, OIL: A New Frontier
In the boreal forest of northern Canada, near the arctic circle, the breathtaking ecology grows atop the tar sands. Solid deposits of oil currently being harvested by multinational oil companies, often at the expense of the boreal forest. Surface mining causes 80% of this damage, but only accounts for 20% of production. Our project is designed to allow research staff to study the effects of climate change on the arctic and help the rehabilitation team remove the scars of surface mining from the landscape as it becomes economically redundant.
Fleur Christian, Megan Doody, Dan Paraschivoiu, Hosna Saleem, Circulation Path
The connection of different components allows human activation iof various program within a sealed internal volume. Sealed in the dead of winter, while winds and temperatures would be deadly on the outside, and allow rapid opening up of internal circulation when the sun is shining.
Fleur Christian, Megan Doody, Dan Paraschivoiu, Hosna Saleem, SHELL
We researched the DARPA skyhook airship concept during the sketch design phase of the project and were astounded by the level of innovation and technology design developed for use in and around our site and Fort McMurray.
Research staff and their families are housed in small community groups with deployable houses. These deployable dwellings can be outfit with various levels of insulated, breathable or photovoltaic panels or a combination thereof.
The connection of different components allows activation in a sealed internal capability in the dead of winter, while winds and temperatures would be deadly on the outside, and allow rapid opening up of internal circulation when the sun is shining.
Fleur Christian, Megan Doody, Dan Paraschivoiu, Hosna Saleem, SHIELD
The shields hold delicate young saplings 12 months a year and allow them to grow in warmth and comfort within the protective shield. This allows us to rapidly grow the required 30,000 trees per hectare. The shield contains many layers that accomplish various interconnected design objectives including hydroponic biostatis systems, photovoltaic power generation, nutrient capture and cradle to cradle regeneration and conversion tools for town/cluster amenities.
Fleur Christian, Megan Doody, Dan Paraschivoiu, Hosna Saleem, UPx in standalone deployment
UP Houses can be outfitted with sufficient insulation and equipment to function independently in remote location. Allowing researchers to monitor ecological changes.
Wendy Chen, Giuliana Corallo, Alexander Gibson, Johnny Long, Plant redevelopment scheme
RE[DIS]PLACE involves a two-step scheme consisting of a new housing model and a re-purposing of the oil plant site into an artist's colony and cultural hub. New programs at different scales would be inserted into the shells of the old structures; tanks would be cleaned and become gallery spaces, the pipelines would be converted into elevated walkways traversing the site, and plantations of native flora would be re-introduced into the site. Construction of new structures will be kept to a minimum as the intention is to retain as much of the existing infrastructure as possible, thus preserving the past industrial life of the site.
Wendy Chen, Giuliana Corallo, Alexander Gibson, Johnny Long, Highline Montage
This image captures the experience of traversing the main circulation artery in the redeveloped art precinct. The highline is constructed on the pipes which formed part of the old oil plant, which has been re-imagined as an arts and culture precinct after the plant has ceased to operate as a SAGD oil plant. The highline allows people to circulate and observe the site in its entirety, whilst immersing themselves in the various art installations inserted into the site.
Wendy Chen, Giuliana Corallo, Alexander Gibson, Johnny Long, Performance Space Montage
A public square has been designed in a semi enclosed outdoor open space within the existing oil plant site. The space is flexible, and could be used for markets and concerts attracting international superstars, as shown in this montage, amongst other things. It is bordered by the highline, creating multiple observation points into the square. This space forms an important part of the arts and culture precinct as it is the central entertainment and congregation space.
Wendy Chen, Giuliana Corallo, Alexander Gibson, Johnny Long, Interior Tank Montage
As part of the oil tank redevelopment, the existing storage tanks have been converted into gallery spaces. The scheme intends to retain and reuse as much of the existing oil plant infrastructure as possible, and the large tanks are ideal to house art exhibits and installations. The tanks are an important feature in the redeveloped art precinct.
Wendy Chen, Giuliana Corallo, Alexander Gibson, Johnny Long, Housing Scheme
Consisting of a flexible framework and prefabricated, modular elements, the housing is able to respond to fluctuations in demand. In the future, its flexibility allows it to be repurposed to suit the housing needs of the proposed artists colony. Units can be combined to allow for the spatial needs of the family unit.
Wendy Chen, Giuliana Corallo, Alexander Gibson, Johnny Long, Housing Complex - Night View
Each housing complex houses 200 people, with communal spaces and programs interspersed between the housing modules. Mesh screens and translucent circulation “tubes” allow for passive surveillance and give the building dynamism, especially evident in the darker hours.