Israel Gets a Shipping Container Student Village

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A brand new student village recently opened its doors in the town of Sderot in Israel. What sets it apart from other such villages is the fact that it was built entirely out of used shipping containers. All the work was also done by the students themselves, many with no prior construction experience, under the watchful eye of Ayalim, Israel’s largest youth organization.

Construction started in June 2014 and by early December 2014, the units were ready for habitation. The village was built using 36 recycled shipping containers, which yielded 150 apartment units. The construction was done by 1000 students and pre-army volunteers, who picked up valuable construction skills as they worked. About 300 of these will stay in the village and attend the nearby Sapir Academic College. The units are made available to them for a subsidized rent, so long as they perform 500 hours of community service in Sderot annually.

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The shipping container village is comprised of three separate structures, each rising three stories. The shipping containers used to build them were pretty much left in their original state, at least from the outside, and stacked one atop another much like they would be on a ship while still transporting goods.

On the inside, little suggests the units are made out of shipping containers. The walls were covered in drywall and painted white to give the sense of spaciousness. The units were also fitted with large windows that let in plenty of natural daylight and offer good ventilation. The apartments are comfortably furnished, and contain a fully functional kitchen, living area, bedroom and bathroom.

The main aim of this project was to get young people to stay in the village even after they finish their studies. Apparently the biggest obstacle for people settling and studying in this region of the country is lack of affordable housing, which is what the Ayalim is trying to remedy through this project. It is certainly nice to see large scale cargotecture projects like this start to crop up all over the world and hopefully there will be many more.

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Shipping Container School Built in Africa

Shipping Container School Built in Africa

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Due to being inexpensive and readily available, shipping containers are often used for building affordable housing for the less fortunate. This was recently proven by the Johannesburg, South Africa firm Architecture for a change (A4AC) who used shipping containers to construct a school and community center Malawi. The structure is also capable of operating independent of the grid, since it is equipped with a rainwater harvesting system and a solar power array.

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The Legson Kayira Community Center and Primary School, as the complex is called, measures 4,090 square feet (380 square meters). The designers kept the structure very simple. It is made up of two classrooms and a large central courtyard, along with some bleachers. The school primarily educates children, though the building also houses an adult training center.

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Since insulation is one of the main concerns when using shipping containers as building blocks, the architects needed to find a solution, which would work in the hot climate of South Africa. They opted for a covered canopy-type design, which features a larger covered area that provides shade, as well as open, well-lit and well-ventilated spaces.

The shipping containers used were per-fabricated off-site at A4AC’s workshop in South Africa, and then transported to Malawi. The shipping containers used are supported by a lightweight steel supporting frame and roof. Some of the sides of the containers were also removed and replaced by louvered walls, which further aids in the natural ventilation.

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Also, the classroom doors can be opened on a hinge, which again aids ventilation, as well as make sit possible to turn an indoor space into a semi-outdoor space if needed. To block out the sun and provide shade, designers used netting. Water is recycled via channels in the sloping roof and kept in water storage tanks. The school is also fitted with a rooftop mounted solar power array, which harvests enough power to provide indoor lighting, and serve all the other power needs of the school.

The school took only about eight weeks to complete. Also, it was designed in such a way that additional shipping containers can be added to expand it, should the need arise. This is yet another great thing about using shipping containers as building blocks.

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Container Show Room

New Zealand on Screen Uses Recycled Shipping Containers & Caravans to Show Off Kiwi Films

by  Bridgette Meinhold 

New zealand on Screen is a new project to showcase Kiwi film, TV and music videos right on shipping containers! The organization wanted to engage visitors using dynamic facilities that could enliven quiet spaces around the country, so with help from New Zealand based Stroybox, they retrofitted the containers and a caravan and turned them into interactive media rooms. Through October 23rd, New Zealand on Screen will show iconic Kiwi films, TV and music videos both inside and on the surface of the converted containers in Auckland and Wellington. A traveling caravan mini-cinema will tour around the country to small towns that don’t normally get to take part in film festivals.

Brightly painted and decorated with classic film moments, the two sets of converted shipping container  lounges sit on wharfs in Aukland and Wellington. Inside, visitors can learn about and watch classic films and TV or play around with a state-of-the-art interactive video wall. There’s also a ‘Scene Stealer’, an iPad app where visitors can take a photo of themselves, be inserted in a classic NZ film or TV scene, and then share the image via email, facebook and twitter. Outside, giant QR codes let passersby learn more about what’s going on inside these exciting containers.

A retrofitted caravan is making its way around the South Island visiting 18 towns and holding screenings. This pop up cinema is an effective way to bring the festival to towns that rarely get to be involved in film and TV culture. Recycled materials and vintage decor were used to decorate both the lounges on the North Island and the traveling caravan. Classic film memorabilia on loan from the New Zealand Film Commission engages the visitors and adds to the nostalgia. Paul Ward, content curator of the New Zealand on Screen project tells us, “It’s about creating intersections of offline and online environments to give the content more currency without having to build a museum or movie theatre.”

Container Village for Haiti

Pop-Up Village for Haiti Made From 900 Shipping Containers

by Bridgette Meinholdvilaj vilaj, luck mervil, haiti, shipping container housing, earthquake disaster relief

Haitian Canadian musician Luck Mervil is leading the charge to help rebuild Haiti with houses made from repurposed shipping containers. Mervil is behind the Montreal organization Vilag Vilag, which wants to use 900 shipping containers to build an entirely new village west of Port-au-Prince fit for 5,000 people. The organization aims to build sustainable and long-term housing in Haiti — and eventually elsewhere — with the help of local Haitians.

vilaj vilaj, luck mervil, haiti, shipping container housing, earthquake disaster relief 

Mervil, who has put his own career aside to work on this important project, expects the entire community to cost around $25 million and has been ardently working to raise the funds. The new village will be built on a parcel of previously uninhabited land near Leogane, a coastal city west of Port-au-Prince. A prototype shipping container house was built in Canada in 10 days for between $8,000 and $10,000, and Mervil expects the costs to be much lower in Haiti.

The village will consist of a series of 900 shipping containers grouped together in a grid and separated by open space, parks, and playing fields. Both 40 and 20-foot containers will be used to construct durable, long-term and hurricane and earthquake resistant homes. Each home will offer roughly 320 sq feet of living space with running water and bathrooms. The village will also be self-sufficient, with space for companies to set up shop so that villagers can work and support themselves.

Eco-Cabins for Boy Scouts

Eco-Cabins for Boy Scouts
by Bridgette Meinhold 

Embracing the Boy Scouts of America’s “leave no trace” mantra, Gensler designed and built an incredible eco-cabin for Camp Emerald Bay on Catalina Island. Utilizing sustainable design principles, renewable energy and two 20´ shipping containers, the cabin is the first of twenty off-grid cabins set for a redevelopment plan that will transform an 85-year old campground into a year-round outdoor learning center.

The eco-cabin is made up of two 20′ containers bolted together to create a 320 sq ft space. The structure has been covered with a vaulted translucent roof of stretched silicone-coated fiberglass over aluminum arches, and the roof and the connecting sides of the two containers were removed to provide a larger, light-filled structure. As this is a cabin designed for boy scouts, little is needed in terms of power, and LEDs are powered by a solar system to offer light at night. During the day, the translucent vaulted ceiling offers ample daylighting while also giving the cabin a more spacious feel.

Gensler designed and built the cabin back in LA, cut the sides away, insulated the interior and from there all the materials were packed away inside the containers for shipping to the Island. The two containers were installed upon a low concrete six pier foundation and a deck was constructed from reclaimed wood taken from an old dock in the bay. An additional nineteen, identical cabins will be constructed and assembled on the island to replace the camp’s existing barracks. There will also be the addition of a new outdoor learning center, also to be constructed from shipping containers.

Gensler provided their services pro-bono for this project; while Arup managed the structural engineering, J. Miller Canvas the roof and doors, The RMS Group the containers, Primus Lighting the LED Lighting, and Nora Systems the rubber flooring.