Posts tagged with "Shipping Containers":

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CURA aims to retrofit shipping containers into COVID-19 treatment centers

The ongoing march of the COVID-19 pandemic is stretching the capabilities of hospital infrastructure and medical staff across the globe. Governments are forced to address a fundamental question: How can we expand triage facilities in a short period of time to address the exponentially growing number of patients? While some cities such as New York are converting once-trafficked convention centers and dorms into field hospitals, the answer developed by an international task force led by Carlo Ratti Associati, Huminatas Healthare and University, the World Economic Forum, amongst many others, is CURA, or Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments, shipping containers outfitted to function as biocontainment pods. The CURA prototype follows the standard length and width of shipping containers; 8 feet by 8.5 feet by 20 feet. Each pod is intended to function independently of the next, and will be retrofitted to include the medical equipment—beds, IV stands, and ventilators—necessary to treat two COVID-19 patients. Additionally, the compartmentalized structure of the pods allows for the straightforward installation of an air extractor to insure indoor negative pressure. While the CURA pods can function as stand-alone supplements to preexisting hospital ICU intakes, they are by there very nature modular and can be stitched together into an effective field hospital via an inflatable corridor. According to Carlo Ratti, the international task force has been collaborating for approximately a week and formed to apply their skills to the present crisis. "The first step has been to form a "task force" with engineers, doctors, military experts, NGOs, and many different consultants," said Ratti. "This week we will upload online all the technical specs so that anybody could reproduce and install the CURA pods where most needed." Currently, the nonprofit team is coordinating between New York and Turin, Italy, and constructing the prototype for testing at a hospital in Milan. If proven successful, the open-source model can be replicated across the world and easily shipped to particular hotspots.
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Shipping containers amass a cost-effective bungalow in Amagansett

When one thinks of a house in the Hamptons, they usually picture a beach-front McMansion with large shingle roofs and endless windows. These colossuses often contain innumerable bathrooms and bedrooms; all aptly fitted out with country-style wainscoting and ornamental fixtures. This all too real illustration isn't complete without a three-car garage, sprawling lawns, tennis courts, and Olympic-sized pools; as if adjacent ocean beaches weren't enough when it comes to swimming. Though this trope tends to describe what most homeowners and seasonal renters have come to expect from a summer house in Sagaponack or Montauk, the South Fork of Long Island boasts far more architectural diversity than this timeworn cliche might suggest. While a return to mid-century modernism has spawned a number of recent developments and wild postmodern statement piece by Norman Jaffe and Ricard Meier stand as jarring reminders of a bygone era, few Hamptons-based projects have sought to push-the-bill when it comes to dealing with a restrained budget. Set on a wooded elevation near Amagansett’s bay-front, this compact house was designed by local firm MB Architecture for a client with a modest brief. Making the most of the triangular property’s perch and sunset views, the firm implemented a sparing, LEGO-like scheme that incorporates a great room, a kitchen, four bedrooms, and three shared bathrooms; all within 1800 square-feet of shipping containers. Read the full article on our interiors and design website,
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Splashy renderings hide the flaws of this shipping container house

The Joshua Tree Residence by James Whitaker appeared on Dezeen and nearly every other design blog at the end of September. Consisting of splayed shipping containers painted white and placed among rocks near Joshua Tree in California, the form could easily be mistaken for a sculpture. The articles revealed that Whitaker was relocating a design for a studio space in Germany that had been widely publicized in 2015. The client in Germany “had originally requested a design using shipping containers to reduce its cost, which formed the basis for the architect's suggestion to cluster the metal boxes in a radial composition.” But the client’s business closed, so the studio never got built. Two years later, the design is back. Seeing that the building had been designed for the German climate, one might think that the design might not be suitable for a brutally hot desert in California. But back in 2015, Whitaker indicated that he “believes the design could be located anywhere.” In 2017, the splayed container complex has changed from black to white and has been re-located to an extremely rocky site “in a gully formed by years of stormwater.” There is no longer any mention of this being a low-cost scheme; it is clearly an expensive holiday home for a rich client. After all, you can’t just cut pieces out of shipping containers and bolt them together into any shape you’d like if you expect them to stand up: this is a fully custom steel building. While it would be easy to criticize yet another shipping container project on the basis of it being made out of shipping containers, what is more remarkable is the publicity one can get for renderings of a structure that has no connection to its site or program. At the scale of a single family home, especially a custom one for a wealthy client, one might expect some connection between the building and its site. Whether it be views, access, climate or context, designing a home like this is an opportunity to craft it for its location, particularly when the location is as extreme and awe-inspiring as the desert. But Whitaker’s interest here is primarily in visualization, which he speaks of in the 2015 Dezeen article:
"With visualizations you can approach the image as you would a photo shoot in a studio, manipulating the light and the materials to achieve exactly the moment you are seeking. The key then becomes bringing in that element of serendipity–making the image feel human and triggering an emotion."
The architecture itself does little to go beyond the moment captured in the visualization. While the plan has been adjusted slightly from the original design for the German site, the same basic parti is in place. Awkward seven foot wide rooms are arranged around a central core, with every space facing outwards to a window that fills the frame of the container. Beds fit the width of the bedrooms facing the landscape. One can only imagine the client climbing over the plywood headboard each evening to turn in. The renderings are striking, depicting an aggressively sculptural, formal object in the extreme climate of the California desert. On that account, Whitaker is successful. But if this is to be evaluated as a piece of architectural design, I am much less convinced. Maybe it will never get built, or maybe every few years, the renderings will pop up with the building located in an entirely different context under exciting new headlines: “Splayed container building houses underwater hotel,” or “Clustered containers make Antarctic research station.” This might be the most interesting option.
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Archtober Building of the Day #16: Carroll House

This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here.

With its cross-cut profile and tiny vertical slivers for windows, the Carroll House might appear to be an up-and-coming studio space in Williamsburg. Neighbors walk by, staring, and some pause to take photos. Inside, however, is an industrial-chic home for a family of four.

We were joined on our Archtober Building of the Day tour today by Virginie Stolz, project manager at LOT-EK–the firm behind the building's design–alongside the home's owners Joe and Kim Carroll. Built on a 25-by-100-foot site, this standard Brooklyn residential lot is almost tailor-made for shipping container construction, with three eight-foot-wide containers making up the short side of the structure. Comprised of 15 shipping containers in total, this 5,000-square-foot home took four years and many conversations with the NYC Department of Buildings to complete.

According to Joe Carroll, LOT-EK originally planned to strip the shipping containers and let them rust naturally. However, due to code requirements, the design team and homeowners landed on the building’s ruddy brown color, which balances edgy design with the rest of the neighborhood. The details of the long shipping containers were kept intact. The bright yellow twist locks that connect containers on maritime voyages are welded in place.

The 15 containers went up in three days. Originally, LOT-EK wanted to build the house out of pre-fabricated pieces, but due to city code requirements the architects had to rethink the construction process. HVAC and electrical systems were threaded throughout the structure after the containers went up. Surprisingly, the floor of all shipping containers, industry-wide, are made of wood. For this project, LOT-EK chose to keep the original floors. A steep interior stair spans the middle container, maximizing the floor space on each level. An exterior stair snakes up the entire terrace structure at the back.

While the house appears dark and solid from the outside, the interior is quite bright. The containers are sliced at an angle, with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, opening the back of the house to direct sunlight. Solar panels will be installed between the upper terraces, taking advantage of the direct sunlight.

The Carroll family moved into their home in November 2016, and since then, they say passersby and the occasional film scout regularly ring their doorbell to a get glimpse inside the unusual home.

Author: Kelly Felsberg
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Shipping container "Globe Theater" proposed for Detroit

Angus Vail, a rock music business manager from New Zealand, wants to build a Shakespearean Globe Theater in Detroit. But rather than a heavy timber and plaster structure, like the 16th century version, he wants to build it out of shipping containers. Working with New York-based Perkins Eastman, Vail has conceived of a theater in the round that could host everything from Shakespeare to punk rock, both of his passions. Near the same dimensions as the original, the Container Globe would be constructed primarily out of 20-foot shipping containers. These containers would be cut to provided box seating, while additional 40-foot containers would make up the thrust stage. Walkways and stairwells would surround the seating, also like the original layout. The entire structure would then be wrapped in a flexible steel mesh. Vail has experience in working with containers, including a performance and arts pop-up in Jersey City. His career in the music industry has also given him insight into another possibly of the Container Globe: It could be mobile. Like many large stage shows, the Container Globe would be able to be broken down, packed up, and shipped to its next engagement. Vail says the main advantage of this is that it can be brought into under-served neighborhoods, where access to the performing art may be lacking. Initial renderings show the Container Globe in front of Detroit’s vacant Michigan Central Station. While Vail has named a handful of possible locations for the project, Detroit seems to be at the top of the list. And through the plan is to make the theater mobile, it has not been ruled out that it would be a permanent structure, with multiples of it built around the world. Currently, the team working to bring the Container Globe together is planning a crowdfunding campaign for early this year. A gallery exhibition is also in the works and set to open on February 2nd at ORA Gallery in New York, a gallery dedicated to New Zealand art and design.
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Taco Bell announces shipping container restaurant

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think Page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]

After the world’s first Taco Bell was saved by preservationists in 2015, it seems the chain has taken a liking to architecture. Last year, under the flags #savetacobell and “Save Taco Bell Numero Uno,” T-Bell moved the building from Downey, California, to its headquarters in Irvine after it paraded through Orange and Los Angeles Counties on a truck. This year, it announced its first shipping container restaurant. Let's just hope there will be space for bathrooms!

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Shipping container wunderkind SG Blocks teams up with Farm Stores to create drive-thru outlets

Self-contained, prefabricated, and already an architectural craze, shipping containers could be the key to cost-efficient franchising. SG Blocks has partnered with Farm Stores, the nation’s largest drive-thru chain, to design and engineer a prototype for fast-assembling new Farm Stores. Based in New York, the firm works with architects, builders, and developers to build sturdy, environmentally-friendly multipurpose spaces from code-engineered shipping containers. Their mobile solutions dovetail especially well with F&B and retail companies, such as the Colorado ski-slope showroom which the firm built for Mini Cooper and the LACOSTE L!ve mobile retail solution, which can expand from 160 to 480 square feet. The Farm Store will be an energy-efficient, 640-foot drive-thru store, which like all other Farm Store outlets, combines a drive-thru grocery store, bakery and quick-service restaurant. “These stores will be efficiently designed as fully modular prefabricated units to aid franchises in a rapid site activation, helping more easily establish Farm Store locations in new neighborhoods,” said Paul Galvin, Chairman and CEO of SG Blocks. “Faster store completion” and “quicker return on investment” are two key benefits to building these franchise stores with shipping containers, according to Farm Store Chief Operating Officer, Maurice Bared. Self-contained and non-combustible, shipping containers come in standard lengths of 20 feet and 40 feet. They measure eight feet wide universally and are thus invariably stackable.
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This stack of shipping containers by LOT-EK could become the nomadic coworking office of the future

The future of the mobile office is on its way, and it's blurring the lines between the home and the workplace. Spacious is the name of a "coworking hotel" concept being touted by its founder and CEO, Preston Pesek, as the future of the workplace, combining a traditional coworking space, a hotel, and retail into a giant live, work, play experience. And what better way to house the modern nomadic workforce than shipping containers? New York–based architects at LOT-EK—who designed the coworking space—have built their reputation on living and working inside shipping containers. The firm's principles, Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, explained on their website that the modular design is organized around a roughly 50-foot-tall central atrium that "opens to the street with a large glazed opening visually connecting to urban life." The massive space helps to uncramp the potentially claustrophobic sensation of typing away inside an 8-foot-6-inch tall container all day long. "The building design is a response to natural human cycles of productivity," Pesek said in an email. "Sometimes we need social interaction for stimulation, and sometimes we need privacy to be productive. The building offers a spectrum of environments for public engagement and quiet privacy, on demand, as needed." Guests can belly up to long, shared desks overlooking the activity of a sort of "public plaza" lined with retail space. Members can also choose a private bedroom/office combo. Each 8-foot-by-40-foot shipping container can hold two bedrooms and bathrooms that convert into offices by folding beds up against the wall. Two shipping containers can be combined to create larger rooms. Pesek's promotional website said repurposing shipping containers is a sustainability and financial no-brainer. Each container ranges from $2,800 to $4,000—and diagrams show upwards of 80 would be needed. That cuts down on the cost of raw materials, leaving more room in the budget for sprucing up the interior. Details on the project's website let the renderings do most of the talking, but it does explain that Spacious is all about reducing temporally wasted space—and, in turn, bring down real estate prices. "Our daily movements create vacancy gaps in the spaces where we live, work, and play," the site reads. "Even the densest cities reveal an abundance of available, usable spaces hiding just under the surface." Members would be able to book the secure hotel rooms—with full hotel amenities—on demand. And if you venture out during the day, you can earn a rebate by loaning your room to others. The larger coworking space would be open to anyone in need of coffee, doughnuts, and some free wifi. You likely won't be able to plug into your local Spacious any time soon, however. A location for the New York City flagship has not been announced, and Pesek said it's too early to disclose details about a timeline. Spacious still plans to ship out its concept to other cities in the future. [via Motherboard.]
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Human-sized kaleidoscope at the Kobe Biennale wows with prismatic color and zipper architecture

If you’ve ever wondered what the cross-section of a diamond looks like, step inside this shipping container, where a coruscation of 1,100 shimmering triangular mirrors on various planes refracts light and movement, prism-like. Designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki created a gigantic, walk-in kaleidoscope, stuffing a 49-by-26-foot reflective polyhedron into a 40-foot-long shipping container by cutting the mirrored planes using digital 3D modeling programs Rhino and Grasshopper. Each piece was then fitted with zippers so that the whole structure could fold like origami along the zipper seams. The installation was presented as part of the Kobe Biennale Art Container Contest, a competition in which designers are tasked with making magic happen inside an industrial shipping container—namely, creating an environment worthy of aesthetic merit. With a polyhedron connected entirely by zippers, Shiane and Miyazaki wanted to fabricate the world’s first zipper architecture, proposing it as an environmentally efficient way of dismantling and reassembling in a construction context. “This idea could solve global environmental problems because it is easy to exchange only [one] part with a zipper,” said the designers, who have been honing their origami-influenced zipper technology since 2007. The whimsically titled Wink Space is their third prototype founded on this idea. All the interior panels of the structure are connected by detachable cords, and each unit can opened and closed like a window. Each tiny movement viewers make is refracted thousand-fold by mirrors that create a constantly shifting, rainbow-like display. Dress in neon or sequins for maximum effect.
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South London's shipping container coworking venue champions low-cost Live-Work-Play spaces

Conceptualized as a “cross-functional village” built entirely from shipping containers, the POP Brixton project by Carl Turner Architects offers fertile ground for entrepreneurial endeavors. Aesthetic appeal or lack thereof aside, the interconnected containers will collectively serve as “a community campus for startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs.” Think coworking spaces where creatives commingle and cross-fertilize—only with cultural and educational activities such as workshops, live events, film screenings, and performance arts. Meanwhile, public spaces such as retail outlets, cafés, kiosks, and a speculative hotel are also included in the plan to attract traffic and revenue streams to the South London district of Brixton. The low-cost, low-energy containers are available in 20 foot and 40 foot dimensions, each one tricked out with high-speed internet access, power points, insulated walls and double-glazed windows. As a self-touted coworking space, POP Brixton will, above all, be a platform for training, business, and employment more than a retail haven, but the containers will be configured around a public square and various planted walkways, and the hosting of events open to all promises to foster community spirit. pop-brixton-carl-turner-architects-shipping-container-city-london-layout-psfk Integral to the transfer-of-knowledge-and-skills concept is the requirement that tenants partake in a one-hour training program per week for startups, managed by Lambeth College and Brixton Pound. POP Brixton will serve as a pilot project of sorts for its upcoming larger-scale Future Brixton Project. Though not involving shipping containers, it is a community revitalization and job creation initiative that extends to the surrounding Somerleyton Road, Brixton Central, Town Center, and the building of a new Town Hall. Construction of the POP Brixton commenced in January 2015 and is scheduled to open this year.
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An unlikely shipping container pop-up plaza is the brainchild of the San Francisco Giants and Gehl Studio

San Francisco's baseball team, the Giants, and Gehl Studio are planning a pop-up shipping container village on a waterfront parking lot just across McCovey Cove from AT&T Park in Mission Bay. The Yard, as the project is being called, will consist of a beer garden, coffee shop, retail stores and a waterfront deck, all on land intended for a 1.7 million square foot mixed-use development called Mission Rock. But until that project begins construction, the 9-acre site, according to Gehl Studio project lead Blaine Merker, will consist of 15 shipping containers salvaged from the Port of Oakland. The containers will line Terry A. Francois Boulevard, some perpendicular to the thoroughfare, some parallel, some stacked one atop the other, and most creating outdoor rooms for congregating. "This is not about a series of buildings, it's an integrated urban design," said Merker. "Our initial inspiration was to create the feeling of a walkable mixed-use street." According to the SF Chronicle, the Giants will spend $2.5 million on the project and pay $77,000 in annual rent to the Port of San Francisco. Until now, the city's most famous pop-up container village was Proxy, in Hayes Valley, designed by Envelope A+D. Plans for The Yard were presented to the Port of San Francisco this week, and the project is expected to open by March, prior to the baseball season.
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Architect proposes a pedestrian bridge in Israel built from discarded shipping containers

There is an ongoing architectural quest to find new and innovative sustainable materials. Some products could appear in the next science fiction film, such as the fungus-grown packaging material by Ecovative. Other materials have been with us for a long time, under guise of other uses. Some products—like the lowly shipping container—have served one function for so long they beg to be reinvented. Israeli architect firm Yoav Messer Architects won the Ariel Sharon Park Competition in early ,2013 for a unique pedestrian bridge built from the ubiquitous metal boxes, and with progress underway, the proposal could serve as a new model for reusing the discarded pieces of shipping infrastructure. Serving as the gateway to Ariel Sharon Park in Israel, the 520-foot-long bridge gives this 100 percent recyclable conglomerate waste a new lifeline. Further, the modifications to the containers are done primarily off site to protect the integrity of the environmentally sensitive area. The bridge seeks to integrate the surrounding scenic beauty for pedestrians and cyclists by including observation decks to view the surrounding nature preserve vistas. Pedestrians can also access the rooftop boardwalk by staircases located near the midpoint of the bridge. To overcome ventilation problems, the team added holes in the container walls that double as lookout points. Three tree-column supports hold the the container structure airborne. The project challenges when a product is considered "waste." The demand to divert waste is increasing as landfill space decreases around major cities. If this project is successful, architectural firms may turn to these once discarded containers and ask, "What other needs can they meet?"