Black Gold project imagines oil tankers as iconic Arabic architecture

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The Black Gold project, by Chris Collaris Design (Image: Chris Collaris Design)

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Architectural projects based on shipping containers are one thing, but what about a project that uses an entire ship? Chris Collaris, in collaboration with Ruben Esser, Sander Bakker, and Patrick van der Gronde, recently unveiled the Black Gold project: a vision for turning an oil tanker into a mixed-use structure in the Southern Gulf Region.

Right off the bat we should note that the Black Gold project looks purely conceptual, and thus we'd take this one with a pinch of sea salt. There's also a question as to whether reusing such large ships makes better environmental sense than simply recycling them.

That said, Collaris seems to view the Black Gold project not just as an example of adaptive reuse, but also as an opportunity to offer an alternative to what he sees as sub-par architecture in the region.

"The biggest concern in the newly grounded architectural culture of the post-global cities in the Gulf area can be described as an overdose of pretentious iconic buildings," says the architect. "By changing the function of the discarded mega oil tanker in a sustainable and functional way, the anchored mega ship can be kept as a true icon of the Arabic States in Southern Gulf region into the present and next era."

The Black Gold project would see a suitable ship no longer in service being safely beached and its original structure largely maintained. The renders depict a road running through the hull, and the hulking interior should easily accommodate the museum and cultural exhibition area mentioned by the firm, in addition to retail spaces and hotels or residential areas. A glass-bottomed swimming pool is also cited for the deck.

Keeping the interior cool could be a worry given the hot local climate, but Collaris states that the tanker's double steel walls would help maintain a comfortable interior temperature.

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