Modeling Charrette

Today, Dan, John, and I executed a modeling charrette. We each did two 30 minute models. Retrospectively, my two models dealt with two different conditions – rural and urban. This is an issue we are having a tough time navigating; we aren’t really sure where our project should be located.

My first model is below. It’s the rural condition, and I was thinking about this occurring on a drill pad. I started with a block of housing which I associated with the “type 1” man camps – those which are run by either oil companies or logistics companies, and are the most rigidly controlled. In terms of assembly, I was thinking about premanufactured modules constructed from CLT. I stacked the units, because I have been thinking about increasing the density of any housing project we do here, and I cantilevered each row off the one below it, because I was thinking about outdoor space. I connected a gas line to the structure, thinking about using the gas which is being burned off now. Also, I added a solar desalination array, because we have learned a lot about the issues of water associated with fracking.

I added a section of mobile homes which are arrayed like a type 2 man camp, and also dispersed an ad-hoc collection of modules, which represent the organization of a type 3 man camp. I think one of the most interesting things which came out of this model was a discussion we had about the inevitability of people using mobile homes for housing, because many of the workers are transients who follow oilfield work.


The second model I worked on was related to a more urban condition. Dan showed me a neighborhood in Amsterdam which he had been in which was essentially a suburban project, but very different from what we think of as a suburban condition.

amsterdam neigborhood

What I was thinking about here was a project where we take on the design of a couple blocks of Williston – perhaps on the periphery, where a lot of the development is taking place, and is manifested in rows and rows of nearly identical single family houses on cul-de-sac roads. Those developments are really stressful on Williston, because they require so much new infrastructure like sewer, water, roads, etc. The idea expressed in this model is that we could propose a certain level of density and variety in an urban block condition. Because the density is much higher than in single family housing, the demand on infrastructure would be much less. The project could also be an infill project.



I think one of the interesting things that came out of the discussion from this idea is that it’s pretty well aligned with our original premise for this project – well suited for us to design the entire project delivery system, from design of supply streams through assembly execution.

After discussing these models, and the ones that John and Dan worked on, we isolated three different projects which we are interested in taking on. One is the urban condition described above; one is a water depot with program added to it; and the third, my personal favorite right now, is infrastructure/architecture that would support the ad-hoc collections of type 3 man camps. I think it’s pretty important for us to have these three projects in our minds as we prepare for our trip to Williston and go there. We will need to decide what direction we are going to take very soon after returning.

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