Morris Architects, a Houston-based architecture and design firm, recently took top honors for two of their submissions in the Radical Innovation in Hospitality design competition. The grand prize winner, the Oil Rig Platform Resort and Spa makes use of one of 4,000 oil rigs out in the Gulf of Mexico and transforms it into a luxurious eco-resort and spa. We love how the inspired renovation takes an iconic source of dirty energy and converts it to an eco-haven that generates all of its power from renewable sources.

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Sponsored by the John Hardy Group and Hospitality Design Magazine, the international design competition focused on innovations in hospitality. The Morris design team wanted to take advantage of the an abandoned oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and reuse the structure, transforming it into a vibrant and commercially viable destination. The luxury resort offers many amenities including interaction with the surrounding ocean – boating, snorkeling, diving and other water sports. The Rig Hotel will also draw in conferences and business meetings, and will serve as a cruise ship’s main port of call en route to other locations in Mexico and the Caribbean.

Situated in the middle of the ocean, the Rig Hotel will need to be as autonomous as possible, generating all of it’s own power from renewable energy, most notably via a large vertical axis wind turbine affixed to one of its foundation towers. Wind power tends to be far more efficient off-shore than on-shore, and the turbine will meet a significant portion of the Rig’s energy demands. Wave energy generators will be buoyed nearby with undersea cables to transmit the power. Solar panels will be affixed on the sides and top of the rig. Additionally, geothermal heat pumps will take advantage of the consistent water temperatures at lower sea levels to aid with heating and cooling of the interior rooms. All of these power systems can easily be integrated into the existing rig infrastructure.

The Oil Rig Resort and Spa will provide unparalleled views of the Gulf through patron’s rooms as well as a glass lobby floor. The lobby will be naturally lit with ambient light, which will be reflect the ocean. A central core will be filled with water, which acts as a ballast to help stabilize the platform during stormy conditions. This central core will also host theatrical performances much like the Cirque du Soliel show ‘O’ in Las Vegas. Guests will be able to view the show from their own room every night.

Individual guest rooms are prefabricated off site and transported via ship in a standard cargo container to the rig. The rooms are not large and have been optimized to maximize space. Couches turn into beds at night and can be moved over the hot tub for viewing of performances. The room can also extend out over the water for better views of the Gulf. The eco-resort provides a state-of-the-art luxury accomodations, as well as sea-water swimming facilities, a grand ballroom shopping, dining, nightly entertainment, a casino, and boat slips. And considering that there are over 4,000 oil platforms out there in the Gulf, it’s certainly a novel way to reuse the existing structures.

+ Morris Architects

Via Bustler