The Rig hotel



There are approximately 4,000 oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico varying in size, depth and mobility that will be decommissioned within the next century. If a deck on one of these rigs is about 20,000 square feet, then there is potentially 80 million square feet of programmable space just oft the coast of the United States.

The current method for rig removal is explosion, which costs millions of dollars and destroys massive amounts of aquatic life. What if these rigs were recommissioned as exclusive resort islands? Could the Gulf be America’s “Dubai” and the rig the artificial island on which to build it? This project examines the possibilities of creating a self-sufticient, eco-friendly high-end hotel experience in our own backyard – the Gulf of Mexico.

There is no doubt the Rig Hotel will attract people seeking adventure. Sailing, parasailing, Moth racing, windsurfing, jetskiing, and waterskiing are only the beginning of what can be oftered. Rigs spawn lush habitats that are home to a profusion of rare corals, marine life, and an average of 10,000 to 30,000 fish each, including endangered and overfished species. Scuba, sport fishing, snorkeling, and submaring/submersible tours will appeal to the adventurer and eco-tourist alike. Those not interested in the ocean experience can find respite at the roof-top’s white sand “beach,” which includes an infinity edge pool, shallow sunbathing areas, deep water training facilities and lap pools. And through creative programming, this destination hotel will also draw conference organizers, businesses in search of a memorable executive retreat, and couples and families seeking a weekend get-away. The Rig can serve as a cruise ship’s main port of call en route to other destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean.

Miles from shore, the Rig Hotel will function autonomously through the use of alternative energy. Existing offshore rigs generate power from the extremely dirty process of burning oil in therm al generators. But the Gulf Coast offers some of the highest and most consistent wind speeds in the entire U.S. Wind turbines could be mounted to existing platforms or derricks, saving the cost of building new towers and taking advantage of these wind speeds, which are strongest at the warmest time of the day. And in the Gulf, when there’s wind, there’s waves. Wave energy generators can be installed either as fixed units in shallower waters or as buoys in deeper waters. These generators use the vertical movement of waves to power turbines and create electricity. For heating and cooling purposes, land-based geothermal systems could be retrofitted to work at sea, taking advantage of constant temperatures at lower sea levels. These systems could be integrated into the existing derrick and drilling infrastructure to become the clean, modern icon for tapping the riches of the deep. And lastly, solar panels can be affixed to existing derricks in a vertical format or on the deck itself or even be integrated into poolside trellises. By combining these technologies, the Rig Hotel would generate more than adequate power, with redundant systems and true self-sufficiency.

The design challenge is to maximize use of existing infrastructure, integrate components to attract the discerning luxury traveler and adventure-seeker, and create a destination experience not found anywhere else.

The ‘reef lobby’ includes a check-in/reception area and lounge area, with significant views of the gulf – including vantages through the lobby’s glass floor – as weil as the deep water pool and infinity pool beyond. Ambient light illuminates the lobby, allusions to water surround the guest, and the aesthetics of the lounge evoke an ocean reef with a modern flair.

Spaces are organized around a core of water, which allows light to penetrate to the center of the rig. The core of water acts as ballast to stabilize the rig during ocean storms, and reduce the effect of seasickness. Further surrounding this “co re of water” are seating areas in front of each guest room for evening shows performed in the deep water pool, similar to Cirque du Soleil’s Las Vegas ‘0’.

The structure of the guest rooms originates from the concept of sea barnacles attached to rocks and ship hulls. Designed to fit and be transported to the Rig Platform within an 8′ X 9′ X 25′ standard cargo container, the unitized room unfolds and extends to the usable configuration. These pre-fabricated rooms line the perimeter of the main platform, creating a symbiotic relationship with the core.

To maximize space, a sofa used by day expands into a bed at night. This mobile piece of furniture slides over the whirlpool tub to fit neatly into the enclosed window niche. One has the experience of nearly sleeping on water. The viewing “port” is animated to extend for surrounding views of the ocean from the guest room, with the ability to retract during foul weather, alluding to the function of sea anemones found in the region.

In a twist on the symbol of oil dependence, the rig begins its life anew as an ecological preserve. Leveraging the power of wind energy, wave energy, and sol ar energy, the Rig Hotel demonstrates alternative fuel sources. It transforms obsolete industrial infrastructure into a vibrant component of the biosphere’s ecosystem. The Rig Hotel is self-sufficient, with onsite eco-friendly energy generation, desalinization, sea-water swimming facilities, and complete bio-degradable product use. All materials used housekeeping, food service, and general use come from the sea itself and are safe to return to the sea.

Amenities of the Rig Hotel include:

Over 300 guest rooms and luxury suites World-class conference facility

Grand ballroom for weddings and events State-of-the-art fitness center and spa

Exquisite dining including a catch-itlgrill-it gourmet service Helipad

High-end shopping Nightly entertainment Gaming casino Stargazer Lounge Pool and poolside bar

Pro shop and launch for water-based activities Deep-water training pool for scuba training classes Dive bell for below-rig under-sea excursions

Boat launch and boat slips for visitors

by Morris Architects

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Toon Verberg