April 16, 2013
SLIDESHOW: Shipping container libraries and other creative spaces
by Kirsten Reach
Batu, Indonesia’s new library and clinic opened its doors at the end of March. Built by dpavilion Architects, the Amin library is an eight room educational center with 6,000 books available for loan.
Five shipping containers stand on stilts here: The blue room is for entertainment and popular books; the red containers hold the science and technology books, extending out as a canopy over an open-air circular reading terrace; the yellow one is the women’s reading room; the green serves as the main lobby space.
In the small cosmopolitan agricultural town, a clash between the contemporary city and the village clash; where the gap between the rich and poor is increasingly widening, the project aims at leveling the playing field by providing an educational facility with over 6,000 books and a small clinic all for free…. [The center is] leading the transition from a rural to an urban context, at the same time questioning the role of architecture as a result of commodity and materiality.
The price for a forty foot storage container retrofitted with a heating/cooling unit is about $6,000 to $7,000; without heat or air, one can run as low as $1,500. Window portals can be cut to almost any specifications.
I wondered if other libraries were putting these portable spaces to use. There aren’t just libraries in need of new spaces, but theaters and galleries, too. Check out these creative uses for shipping containers:
The Admin center has become an icon in the rural town of Batu.
Sections of the library are divided by eight colored containers. The library also offers a small free clinic to serve local residents.
The BiebBus is a mobile children’s library open to the Zaan region outside Amsterdam.
The Vissershok School in South Africa is a learning space for twenty-five five to six year old kids.
Environmental Center of Regenerative Research & Education (eCORRE) Complex in Long Beach is made of 65 containers, and has a botanical garden “green roof” on the top.
Platoon Kunsthalle is a theater and arts facility by Graft Architects in Seoul, Korea. It’s built from 28 shipping containers.
This is the only commercial space of the bunch: the Freitag Shop in Zurich puts its emphasis on using recycled materials, so they’ve built this skyscraper out of nine shipping containers.
GAD is a mobile art gallery in Tjuvholmen, Norway meant to be constructed in just a few days. It’s comprised of five units on the first level, three on the second level (overlooking the central courtyard) and a roof terrace.
OK, maybe this one seems like a stretch, but check out the Del Popolo mobile pizzeria in San Francisco. Just one shipping container on wheels.
Kirsten Reach was an editor at Melville House.