Frozen Cities Liquid Networks Studio
Re-rigging Aumanil
Studio Coordinated by Lola Sheppard
Completed with Kevin Lisoy

Networks inevitably have systems of transfer that occur. Be it the transfer of people, goods, information, energy or rights, these transactions dictate the success of the network’s growth. On Aumanil, these interactions of nodes via infrastructure are crucial to the overall growth of the city. With the introduction of new inputs and outputs, the city may develop new typologies, but the framework for growth will remain constant. We can begin to speculate what types of inputs and outputs would initially be deployed through and within the portcity and envision an infrastructure that can accommodate multivalence and growth. The issue of growth itself should be addressed. Contrary to the modern unplanned expansion in the north, or the urban sprawl that seems to ignore an infrastructure oversight, the growth of Aumanil is inter dependant to the growth of its respective networks. Aumanil develops a connective tissue at the macro scale creating a symbiotic relationship of nodes. The connective infrastructure transfers nourishment from one node to another thus generating growth.

Will there be a point when best practice is economically viable. Can we design to be truly sustainable? Economically, ecologically, and socially? Can we capitalize on big money industry to further the countries agenda and to provide the industry with more liquidity? Can the whole oil rig be re tooled and rethought so that as one function leaves another is already in place and growing to fill that void and sustain itself. Can the absence of oil not be so deeply felt? Can we use the money available in the oil industry and the cost of oil infrastructure to generate alternative ways of living over time?

The siting of Aumanil facilitates the direct collection, transfer, refinement and storage of crude oil extracted from the largest projected oil reserve in the north. The site also facilitates the active management, control and assertion of sovereignty by Canada of the resources and routes of the North. As well, because of its central location both to the Canadian North and to the Northwest Passage, the flow of national and international cargo will need to be controlled. The Portcity acts as both a node on a larger scale of commerce and control, but also as a gateway to its own systems. This includes the transportation and development of the information and people on the Aumanil.

As peak oil approaches, Aumanil has the capacity to change and alter as to stay viable. Accomodations are modular so that the internal configurations can be reworked as social conditions change (ie Oil Workers who are primarily 21 year or males to more permanent family structures). The four primary Modules (Drilling, Processing, Utilities, and Mud) structuraly, and socailly, support the dwelling functions on the rig. As the oil functions leave the modules public amenities are introducted into the system. Food production, water desalination, energy managment and collection become the new processes of the rig. Both the industrial and social qualities of the rig have the capacity to change with external influences (Oil exploration, depletion of specific resources, the opening of the Northwest Passage), but as well with changing internal conditions ( ie. inclusion of families on the rig and a shift from temporal occupancy to more permaent habitation).

Aumanil is an infrastructure in the maco and mico sence. The project is a projection screen, making legible changing landscape of Canadian sovereignty, resource extraction and dwelling. It is infrastructual in that it provides a lose frame work for these macro and micro configurations to occur, effecting the inputs and outputs, but more importantly being affected by them aswell and being flexible enough to accomodate.

“Projects ...that could be filled with the constantly changing programmatic content. [The] independence from short-term considerations allows...a long term ordering potential. The result is a ‘stripping’ of programmatic specificity, of graphic expression, and of fashion-driven representation. All of these layers of course remain supremely important to the actual functioning of any project. Yet they can be altered and redeployed without fundamentally altering the constitution of the project. The identity politics of a project therefore becomes an interchangeable aspect, and the project is a project screen for such considerations. This constitution therefore is infrastructural”

Alexander D’Hooghe

View Posting on Infranet Lab

2010 3B University of Waterloo Design Excellence Award