The oil-based industrial landscape has numerous specific operational needs and events, but often has underused spaces. The organizational rigidity and sprawl of the company-town typology can be challenged, using the contemporary oil town as a foil, in to a more adaptable city with a system of overlapping uses of space organized around time. Rather than being programmatically driven, the components of industry can be broken down in to three major formats of infrastructure: surface, conduits and container. This scheme consolidates the footprint of the oil town, creating overlaps and adjacencies that produce highly differentiated scenarios over the span of days, weeks and years. Over these varying arcs of time, this methodology accommodates a myriad of functional possibilities while maintain a coherency and density within the urban environment.
Vertical organization is possible by using surface as connective tissue between programmatic functions and zones. Each industry has a choreographed schedule of occupation, and this scheme aims to create a never-static “company timeshare”. “Conduits” or networks provide flows and interchange to move across the site. The infrastructural and pedestrian conduits laid upon the plan aim to create vital links between important static and dynamic programs, but are left somewhat indefinite. A single elevated ring road is imposed onto the plan as a link among major industry and to the larger outside infrastructures. “Objects” are flexible containers that facilitate both specific and flexible programmatic use. The malleability of the surface allows for short-term shifts in usage (day by day), seasonal shifts, as well as the long-term transition from an oil-based industry to an ethanol-based industry. The specific linear processes that are required for sugar and oil processes will co-exist and eventually shift. The resulting dense, company town resembles the contemporary city more than its industrial precedents and forms the framework for the inferred post-oil future and sustainability of the town.
Project Designers: Gretchen Craig, Jennifer Grosso, Benjamin Salance
Project Advisor: Neeraj Bhatia
Cornell University, School of Architecture