Thinking outside the box, Morris Architects took home a prize this past February at the Radical Innovation in Hospitality Awards for their fascinating concept to build a new hotel industry around aging petroleum infrastructure.
With an estimated 4,000 oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico set for decommissioning, the Houston-based agency has proposed turning these empty rigs into a green hotels. Powered by wind turbines, solar panels and wave energy, these hotels would include all the five-star luxuries including a fitness center, casino and scuba training.
The plan has been lauded for taking structures long associated with pollution and converting them into eco-friendly tourist getaways that would allow visitors to experience a marine environment up close. Not surprisingly, with tourism in a slump, finding financial backers for the project has been difficult. Since winning the $10,000 prize in February, the concept has seen little traction and individuals at the firm haven’t made any public comments regarding their ground-breaking idea.
Assuming oil rig hotels can “get off the ground,” I have only one reservation with what is otherwise a great idea: location. The Gulf of Mexico has a long history of hurricanes and is expected to get stormier as climate change kicks in. Oil rigs’ isolation would make them easy targets for the kind of nasty weather that could ruin your vacation.