Ganti + Asociates (GA) Design has won an international ideas competition with a radical shipping container skyscraper that was envisioned to provide temporary housing in Mumbai's overpopulated Dharavi Slum. Taking in consideration that steel shipping containers can be stacked up to 10 stories high without any additional support, GA's winning scheme calls for a 100-meter-tall highrise comprised of a series of self supported container clusters divided by steel girders placed every 8 stories.
From the architect: India’s commercial capital Mumbai, Dharavi spreads over 500 acres. Besides being a dwelling place, it is also a work center and a center for recycling and small scale industries, where people live and work together, making it a truly green community. Houses consists of ground or ground plus one units attached end on end to form a complex and highly dense linear mass. The streets, often only 4’wide, run like the arteries through the settlement, providing light and ventilation to each of its units made from recycled tin or plywood planks nailed together.
Keeping in line with its modular and recyclable character, a vertical high-rise made from recycled shipping containers seems to fit the need. Mumbai is a big port with easy availability of shipping containers. Containers can be stacked 10 storeys high without additional supports. The steel skin itself takes the load like a “Monocoque” structure thus cutting cost for additional columns or beams. The design of a 100 M tall high rise structure (approx. 32 storeys) calls for erecting portal frames connected with steel girders placed every 8 storeys. Each 8 storey self-supporting stack rests on these girders and the module repeats vertically.
Each apartment is made up of 3 standard size (40’ Long X 8’6” High X 8’ Wide) containers. Plan is staggered to create an aesthetic and for ergonomic purpose. The floor above cantilevers over the floor below to create a covered corridor. The units are arranged symmetrically around a central core that houses the vertical circulations namely the stairs and elevators. Portals serve as ducts for vertical plumbing and electrical needs. The sides of the portal carries solar panels on the west side and micro wind turbines on the east side for hybrid cogeneration of electricity. The corridors are lines with screens made out of recycled terracotta jalis which are made locally in Dharavi at Kumbharwada (Potter’s community).
With sustainability in mind, each container can be reclaimed from Mumbai's nearby ports. Recycled, locally produced Terracotta bricks would be used to form the screens lining the building's open corridors. Simple bolted connections can allow for quick and easy assembly. Units are staggered horizontally to maximize the surfaces getting natural daylight. And, solar panels are integrated into the building's south and west elevations, as well as micro wind turbines, to generate energy.
"This project presented an overall understanding of the site context, the community, culture and need for improved living standards. The panel liked the clean configuration of a development that could be repeated and adapted to create a district preventing the re-creation of another slum.
"It is a proposal that rightly addressed the issues of sustainability, circulation, energy use, ventilation and lighting by the cleaver adjustment of the containers to allow light through to the other modules. A straight forward convincing solution in terms of form, configuration, distribution and function." - From the jury.
Architects in ChargeShekar Ganti, Gauri Shitole
3d VisualizerNikhil Champanerkar
PhotographsCourtesy of GA Design