Petropolis at the Lisbon Architecture Triennial

The Petropolis of Tomorrow, a design-research project on resource-based urbanism will be part of the Lisbon Architecture Triennale. The exhibit will be part of “The World in Our Eyes” exhibition curated by FIG Projects. The exhibition will feature work directed by Neeraj Bhatia and undertaken at Rice University, Cornell University, and the California College of the Arts. It will feature The Urban Works Agency project “Rewiring Territories”.

The World in Our Eyes:

The powerful urban development processes that took shape during the 20th century gave architects material to develop ideological approaches inspired directly by the city and rapid urban change.

The The World in Our Eyes exhibition focuses on urban space, and its title can be interpreted on different levels. The curators are Fabrizio Gallanti and Francisca Insulza who founded FIG Projects in 2003 as a platform to promote interdisciplinary initiatives and explore the boundaries between architecture, urban research and the visual arts.

With this exhibition the duo seeks to further the discussion on the ways of describing and analysing the urban and territorial condition, in the present and the past, focusing on two aspects. Firstly, a retrospective of recent studies on various urban realities, comparing methods and results; and secondly, cartography and representations of urban phenomena. Based on description and analysis the curators pursue two goals: the first, working within architecture, is to inform the design process, while the second seeks to expand the perspective beyond the field of architecture and include other audiences in the process of understanding the city.

With an extensive list of participants presenting projects from all parts of the globe, the exhibition will highlight changes in urban morphology and how we can perceive such changes.


The Petropolis of Tomorrow

The Petropolis of Tomorrow is a design-research project, which examines new Petropolises—cities formed from resource extraction— associated with energy harvesting and production in South America. To date, infrastructure tied to natural resource extraction has rarely been designed using long-term, holistic planning. Despite the growing logistical landscape dedicated to oil extraction, little design effort has been afforded to engaging and empowering the unique social, cultural, environmental, and economic challenges that face new communities and landscapes. The Petropolis of Tomorrow is a multidisciplinary project undertaken in collaboration with The South America Project (SAP), Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, California College of the Art’s Urban Works Agency, Rice University’s School of Architecture, and Cornell University’s Department of Architecture. Its aim is to provide new templates for architecture, urbanism and infrastructural design tied to resource extraction that privileges a systemic symbiosis between economic, political, environmental and social systems.

The project has been developed through three phases, which sequentially track the logistics of the oil industry in and around Brazil. Phase I, Floating Frontiers investigates the water-based urbanism of off shore extraction sites and proposes a series of artificial islands currently being examined by the oil industry. Phase II, Territorial Transferia, focuses on the growing number of company towns that are developing at the land/water interface and the transfer of materials, resources, and labor at these sites. Phase III, Re-wiring Territories, explores the future production of conduit infrastructures, such as pipelines, that move energy across the South American hinterland. Understanding the lifespan of the oil industry as approximately twenty-five years, The Petropolis of Tomorrow questions how to leverage design opportunities that empower local populations and ecologies by reconfiguring extraction processes, infrastructures, and communities to account for their future production(s).