The studio seeks to extract the logics the ‘contested landscape’, to test assumptions, find evidence to confirm or question the viability of speculations, and test new directions for future study.

Working in small groups, the studio will collectively explore a series of prototypical sites centered along the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, illustrating salient urban and architectural features through historical, contemporary/analytical, and speculative modes. Student teams will address topics in bold.   Individual students will be responsible for 1-2 bulleted elements each and/or topics agreed with the instructor.


1)      Production (3-4 STUDENTS)

  • Oil sands extraction sites in Alberta, Canada
  • Hydraulic fracturing sites, Upper Midwest
  • Offshore deep-sea exploration, Gulf of Mexico
  • Inland and coastal intermodal distribution centers, tank farms
  • Monitoring stations and equipment, pumping stations, valve sites
  • Anticipatory infrastructure, spill sites, fire ponds, overflow pits, ‘Carbon cemeteries’, tailings ponds


2)      Exchange (2-3 STUDENTS)

  • Borders, US-Canada and inter-state crossings, geopolitical and transnational boundaries
  • ‘Kill zones’ , ‘voluntary evacuation zones’
  • Remediation and clean-up protocols
  • Easements, air rights, wind rights, ‘split estates’
  • ‘Transient non-communities’, states of exception, extralegal frameworks


3)      Intervention (3-4 STUDENTS)

  • ‘Boom towns’, 600-person ‘man camps’ (rel. to homesteading, historic boom towns, depopulation)
  • Activist ‘tree-villages’, BOLD Nebraska obstructionist energy barn
  • Transcanada improvements to auxiliary infrastructure, private and community property
  • Future community design and advocacy– Rural Futures Institute,
  • Self reliance and models of personal and collective energy independence-

‘off-grid’, ‘preppers’, ‘doomers’, survivalists, cooperatives, crowdsourced infrastructural funding

>View Student Projects Here

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