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  1. ArchDaily
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  5. GA Design Consultants
  6. 2015
  7. GA Designs Radical Shipping Container Skyscraper for Mumbai Slum

GA Designs Radical Shipping Container Skyscraper for Mumbai Slum

GA Designs Radical Shipping Container Skyscraper for Mumbai Slum
GA Designs Radical Shipping Container Skyscraper for Mumbai Slum, Courtesy of GA Design
Courtesy of GA Design

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. 

Courtesy of GA Design Corridor . Image Courtesy of GA Design Courtesy of GA Design Final Board. Image Courtesy of GA Design +11

Courtesy of GA Design
Courtesy of GA Design

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.

Enlarged Section. Image Courtesy of GA Design
Enlarged Section. Image Courtesy of GA Design

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.

Even Floor Plan. Image Courtesy of GA Design
Even Floor Plan. Image Courtesy of GA Design

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). 

Corridor . Image Courtesy of GA Design
Corridor . Image Courtesy of GA Design

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.

Final Board. Image Courtesy of GA Design
Final Board. Image Courtesy of GA Design

"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

  • Location

  • Architects in Charge

    Shekar Ganti, Gauri Shitole
  • 3d Visualizer

    Nikhil Champanerkar
  • Intern

    Rashmi Rajpal
  • Project Year

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: Karissa Rosenfield. "GA Designs Radical Shipping Container Skyscraper for Mumbai Slum" 24 Aug 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Thomas Harris · January 16, 2016

Ganti has copied this design wholesale from


Priyanka · September 14, 2015

After putting a dining table in the entrance , there is hardly any space to walk!!!! The furniture layout is not reflective of the lifestyle of the occupants.

Indian Architect · September 03, 2015

Ganti Asociates are one among the hundreds of Indian architectural firms who are winning awards for their stolen copycat designs.

This is where these people copied it from:

1. Nomad Skyscraper (2011 Skyscraper Competition, Luca D’Amico, Luca Tesio) -

2. Herzog & de Meuron Skyscraper -

What are these shameless firms boasting of?

TBLIN · August 28, 2015

to add a few things:

Cutting holes into the container will hurt the static unit of it. Plus staking them in that kind of shifted way isn't helping the containers to work as a static structure. It wont work as a self-supporting stack. That would only be the case for 8 containers staked above each other in a vertical way without any shifting and any damage to its structure. Otherwise you will need additional steel structure.

You will most likely have a new interior. Insulation, floor, ceiling,... That has an effect on hight and width of the unit. Why not using an HC Container, earning 1' in hight.

I really doubt the recycle containers. At the end you would need an individual container bc in that vertical grid every container would have to react individual. And customizing every single container would destroy the idea of using container at all.

Luca D'Amico · August 26, 2015

wow it slightly reminds me my competition entry for evolo 2011!!

David · August 26, 2015

At long last a breath of fresh air.....away from the stodgy and pretentious architecture and toward Fresh imaginative and practical architecture. China surely have thousands of the containers with many more coming with the Global recession on the horizon. They need low cost dwellings...Hell.!... get on with's not the time to gas about it, now's the time to do it.!!!! Why does everyone see 'vertical slums'..use your imagination people ..we have the technology,materials,self-contained waste systems. et al. Wake up World, get your arse into gear and act.

Walt · August 26, 2015

Is there not a preexisting issue of an inadequate infrastructure, i.e. waste removal and fresh water supply ?

Reder!c · August 25, 2015

In what alternate reality do Indian families have only two children?

MRA · August 25, 2015

stop fetishizing slums.

Renter · August 25, 2015

Silly architects think they can resolve everything with vertical towers.

Deborah Lambert · August 25, 2015

This is the worst idea ever for Dharavi. Transforming a horizontal
slum in a vertical slum is not what I call improvement of living quality! I
wonder if the architect visited Dharavi and notice how this part of the city works and really understand what the inhabitants need? The connection with the streets and the public space (no matter how tiny it sometimes is) is important for the social coherence and the ability for economic activities - to earn some money, to feed the family and to send the children to school!

spamsushi · August 24, 2015

Another container tower concept. Seems clever at first, but will only exacerbate social problems, and once adopted in India could even be implemented in the west. Just image, not even too hard!

Mary Patricia Grant · August 24, 2015

The idea of high rise living in Dharavi seems like a poorly executed way of understanding the idea and philosophies of the slum culture. Over time a high rise will develop and multiply its problems with citizens through the over crowding of vertical space, thus creating more of a danger than a solution- yes shipping containers provide a simple solution to the problems in Dahravi but the overall architecture doesn't address the need of the community. A high rise is not a simple solution.

James M · August 24, 2015

Here's an idea: instead of shipping containers, build this skyscraper out of materials that can be manufactured within or near the slum, thus providing work and therefore money for the poor living there.

Nick Fratta · August 24, 2015



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