Four Dutch designers—Chris Collaris, Ruben Esser, Sander Bakker and Patrick van der Gronde—have envisioned a sustainable design of re-use for a discarded oil tanker in the Southern Gulf Region, which they have entitled The Black Gold. They believe that the oil tanker is the "perfect icon" for representing "the geographic, economic and cultural history of the Arabic oil states" – an icon which they predict will become more and more obsolete as the supply of crude oil is moved away from shipping and into pipe infrastructure.
At ArchDaily, we believe it's important to keep our readers up to date on all the most interesting developments in architecture. Sometimes, we will present ideas and projects with a critical eye; however, in many cases we simply present ideas neutrally in the hope that it will spark some discussion or critical response within the profession. Recently, a series of connected news articles about proposals for high-rise shipping-container housing provoked just such a response from Mark Hogan, principle at San Francisco-based firm OpenScope. Originally posted on his blog Markasaurus here's his reasoning for why, contrary to the hype, "shipping containers are not a 'solution' for mass housing."
What’s wrong with shipping container buildings? Nothing, if they’re used for the right purpose. For a temporary facility, where an owner desires the shipping container aesthetic, they can be a good fit (look, I’ve even done a container project!). For sites where on-site construction is not feasible or desirable, fitting a container out in the factory can be a sensible option, even though you’ll still have to do things like pour foundations on site. It probably won’t save you any money over conventional construction (and very well might cost more), but it can solve some other problems.
The place where containers really don’t make any sense is housing. I know you’ve seen all the proposals, often done with an humanitarian angle (building slum housing, housing for refugees etc) that promise a factory-built "solution" to the housing "problem" but often positioned as a luxury product as well.
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.
CRG Architects has won third prize in an ideas competition focused on providing temporary housing in Mumbai, India. Set with in the heavily populated Dharavi Slum, CRG's “Containscrapers” propose to house 5,000 city dwellers by stacking 2,500 shipping containers up to heights of 400-meters. If built, the radical proposal would be supported by a concrete structure and offer a range of housing options, from flats to three bedroom residences.
One of the more niche trends in sustainable design of the past few years has been the re-use of shipping containers in order to create the structure of a building. Due to their convenient size, shipping containers are well-suited for use in houses and their appeal lies in their apparent simplicity: you get a room delivered in one piece, and you can stack them together to make multiple rooms or join them up to make larger rooms.
But of course, things are never so simple, and using shipping containers to make a house is still fraught with challenges - particularly as the idea is still relatively new, so there are few people with the expertise required to build one without a hitch. That's why the folks over at Container Home Plans reached out to 23 experts from around the world - designers and owners who have overcome the challenges to build their own container houses - to ask them what they wish they'd known before taking on this challenge. Check out their 11 top tips after the break.
Fashion, design and architecture collide in Zaha Hadid's recently completed Dongdaemun Design Plaza, one South Korea's most popular tourist destinations. Commissioned by the Design Plaza's Supervisor of Public Space Young Joon Kim of yo2 Architects, the latest development for the plaza is a series of compact kiosks designed to activate the expansive public space surrounding the new building. One of ten teams invited to submit ideas for these new kiosks, Amsterdam-based NL Architects developed a series of impermanent but practical solutions for the plaza. Using new methods for reuse of standard shipping containers, the team proposed a host of kiosks, with two of their designs - an information booth and a miniature exhibition space - being accepted for construction.
See all of NL Architects' Zaha-inspired shipping container kiosks after the break
2013 KOBE Biennale visitors had the opportunity to experience the magic of a kaleidoscope in a whole new way thanks to Saya Miyazaki and Masakazu Shiranes' award-winning installation. The psychedelic polyhedral installation was designed for the Art Container Contest, which challenged participants to create interesting environments within the confines of a single shipping container. As visitors meandered through the installation, they became active participants – rather than passive observers – in the kaleidoscope's constantly changing appearance. For more images and information, continue after the break.
Inhabitat has just featured an unlikely new student housing project in Johannesburg: Mill Junction, a student complex that consists of two former grain silos topped with shipping containers. According to its developers, Citiq Property Developers, the energy and money-saving project re-directs money towards communal facilities, proving popular with students. As a result, Mill Junction, the second shipping-container housing project built by the Developers, may be the second of many more. More info at Inhabitat.
Czech architect Ales Javurek has been awarded first prize in the [AC-CA] Architectural Competition for his design of a two-story, 340 square meter vacation home utilizing shipping containers in Sydney, Australia. The proposal situates the home on the edge of a 1500 square meter hillside to maximize the striking panoramic view of Bondi Beach. By preserving current trees and the slope's profile, consisting of "three platforms," the proposal successfully addresses the main brief: to design a contemporary, sustainable vacation house which sensitively fits into its context and considers Sydney's climate conditions.
Learn more after the break…
In 2013 alone some 1 million people have poured out of Syria to escape a civil conflict that has been raging for over two years. The total number of Syrian refugees is well over 2 million, an unprecedented number and a disturbing reality that has put the host countries under immense infrastructural strain.
Host countries at least have a protocol they can follow, however. UN Handbooks are consulted and used to inform an appropriate approach to camp planning issues. Land is negotiated for and a grid layout is set. The method, while general, is meticulous – adequate for an issue with an expiration date.
Or at least it would be if the issue were, in fact, temporary.
Shipping container architecture has gained a lot of ground over the past few years for its simplicity, affordability and flexibility. Yes the very same containers that make transatlantic voyages and are carted around hitched to trucks have become a tool for architects to design restaurants, to serve as retail or pavilions and even homes. According to an article by Matt Chaban on the New York Observer, NYC plans to prepare for the next disaster with apartments built out of shipping containers to be used as disaster relief shelters.
Join us after the break for more.