April 16, 2013

SLIDESHOW: Shipping container libraries and other creative spaces


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.

From Designboom:

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:

Kirsten Reach is an editor at Melville House.