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.
The irregular shape of the site gives us total freedom to design, minimizing the bad. We push the whole site to a height of 100 meters to play with the maximum volume. We decided to design 2 towers. The shape of the site tells us how to split the volume and where we should put them both. To have the maximum direction of views we decided to use a cylinder shape for the base of the towers, taking advantage of the great views around. Taking the mass that doesn’t belong to the cylinders, we overlap them to grow up the tower’s height. Surroundings’ characteristics and future streets alignments gives us the geometry optimization.
The classical and standard container’s storage position allows us to have only one direction of views, and the gap for opening windows is made from the smallest side. Rotating 90 degrees the position of the containers, we get more façade surface and greater possibilities for opening windows, but still only one direction of views. Changing the position of the containers following a cylinder shape, we obtain multiple views around the site. Alternating them around the cylinder, we make the wind flow through the containers, helping them to remove and decrease the amount of heat.
The skyline of Mumbai will be severely modified after receiving the “Containscraper” on its dense urban grid. With a maximum height of 400 meters for the tallest tower and 200 for the small one, both together will be the new challenge of height to beat in the city. The position of both towers is the answer to the irregular shape of the site, giving to this area the opportunity of being the new landmark of the city with a new visual presence.
With our proposal, under the parameters of a circular floor plan on the bottom of the tower, we emphasize the old method of circular positions for self-defense, allowing its inhabitants to feel the security that a building of these characteristics allows.The core of both towers is also made with containers in a vertical position, allowing us to mortise every elevator unit in one of each of the containers in an upright position.
The position of the “boxes” containing a couple of containers seems to be random, but it is not. It follows a programmed mathematical pattern according to the characteristics of the environment, to provide the maximum flexibility to distribute the units in height. To provide a greater randomization to these positions, the modules of water tanks and empty structures alternate to ensure a regular arrangement in height, and that all users enjoy the vertical gardens, and all dwellings may have availability of smooth water distribution.
The detailed 3D drawing of the minimum container unit, shows how we distribute the services facilities about clean water, grey water and black water, providing each unit with a recirculation reuse water system.The distribution in height of vertical gardens, together with the separation side by side of every container unit, helps the whole system to remove and decrease the heat dissipation produced by high temperatures in summer in Mumbai, and the transmission of heat from the metal facade of each container.
The coloring of facades, corresponding to the original color of each container, and responds to the heating rate of each side, depending on their orientation, and after analyzed the solar incidence of the site. Therefore, we have warm colors on the south side, and cold colors on the north side, reproducing colors of transition between each of them, it means in the east and west sides of the towers.
"The stacking style of the containers reminded the panel of a recent hotel development and presented nothing exceptionally new. However, where this project proposal excels is in the treatment of the interior and proposing a solution for many issues especially temperature control, water and circulation... The panel would have liked to see this proposal pushed further but a good starting point as a concept for dialogue on such a development as a solution for an area of such high density." - The Competition Jury