‘The Petropolis of Tomorrow’ book to debut

Rice School of Architecture sets event on resource extraction to launch the publication

A new book about Petropolises, or cities formed from the logistics of resource extraction, will be celebrated at a launch event at the Rice School of Architecture (RSA) March 17. The book contains a diverse series of articles and design work from Rice University students, including “Drift and Drive,” the award-winning design for an offshore city to support Brazilian drilling operations.

The event from 6 to 8 p.m. at Anderson Hall’s Farish Gallery will feature presentations by “The Petropolis of Tomorrow” editors Neeraj Bhatia, a former Visiting Wortham Professor at Rice and now an assistant professor at the California College of the Arts, where he co-directs the URBANlab, and recent RSA alumna Mary Casper. RSA Dean Sarah Whiting, the William Ward Watkin Professor of Architecture, will lead a panel discussion including RSA faculty members Farès El-Dahdah, Neyran Turan, Christopher Hight ’93 and Albert Pope and alumnus Stephen Engblom ’96, senior vice president of San Francisco architecture firm AECOM.

Work by a Rice School of Architecture team -- from left, students Joanna Luo, Weijia Song and Alexander Yuen, and former Visiting Wortham Professor Neeraj Bhatia -- is featured in "The Petropolis of Tomorrow." Photo by David A. Brown/Dabfoto Creative

The students, Joanna Luo, Weijia Song and Alexander Yuen, currently all in their final year of the Bachelor of Architecture program, won the $40,000 Odebrecht Award for Sustainable Development in 2012 for their concept and design of a floating city to improve the lives of workers stationed on oil rigs far from the Brazilian coast.

The project was recently featured in a report on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” that Bhatia said is “now grabbing the attention of energy companies in South America.” The students’ concept would provide a home for thousands of workers and their families within the artificial island communities. The islands would give workers easy access to the production platforms and would incorporate pipelines to cut down on the use of shuttle tankers to transfer the oil to land.

The book, which will be available for purchase at the event, is Volume 47 in the Architecture at Rice series and includes essays by Bhatia, Casper, El-Dahdah, Pope, Whiting and many others.



About Mike Williams

Mike Williams is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.