The Vissershok School – Shipping Container Classroom in South Africa

The Vissershok School - Shipping Container Classroom in South Africa

This practical and child friendly shipping container classroom by Tsai Design Studio was made for underprivileged children on the outskirts of Cape Town. Although limited in space to just 12 square meters the classroom gives  teaching room for 25 children between the ages of 5 and 6. During the afternoon it serves as a library for the whole Vissershok primary school. The classroom project was sponsored by three south African companies Woolworths, Safmarine, and AfriSam with the school primarily being used by children who’s parents are local farm workers living in the Du Noon township.

The project idea was the brainchild of 15 year old Marshaam Brink, who responded to Woolworths’ “Making the Difference Through Design” competition with a jungle gym concept. This was then passed over to Tsai Design, who grew her idea into this bright and inspiring learning space. It was Tsai that introduced the idea of a double roof to allow air to create natural cooling while the upper roof also offered some shade to help reduce heat build up. The concrete steps also work as a gathering and meeting area for discussions with the children, a vegetable patch helps educate the children about gardening as well as a source of food.

Shipping container classrooms seem to be cropping up more often and the fact it was a 15 year old that came up with this original idea also shows that the concept has a younger audience already interested and aware of what can be achieved by recycling shipping containers.

The Vissershok School - Shipping Container Classroom in South Africa

The Vissershok School - Shipping Container Classroom in South AfricaThe Vissershok School - Shipping Container Classroom in South Africa

The Vissershok School - Shipping Container Classroom in South AfricaThe Vissershok School - Shipping Container Classroom in South Africa

Shipping Container Cultural Centre In Buenos Aires

Shipping Container Cultural Centre In Buenos Aires

Photos: Paula Alvarado.

Although the idea seems simple the thoughts are far reaching, The educational points in different parts of the city are part of the Proa foundation in La Boca neighborhood, Buenos Aires. Developed by arcihtecture studio a77 utilizing a shipping container and recycled materials to make furniture.

Shipping Container Cultural Centre In Buenos Aires

"The Nomad Cultural Center is a project of urban pedagogy whose goal is to generate bonds with the community and to find in it a fertile ground for learning, with active participation channels through experimentation, workshops, laboratories and other actions alike," say the organizers of the space.

The project follows a77’s study of transitory habitable spaces, and its modular nature allows it to be adapted to different spaces and situations in the city.

Shipping Container Cultural Centre In Buenos Aires
Shipping Container Cultural Centre In Buenos Aires

The first place it seen its use was La Boca a neighbourhood that not only is a tourist trap but also houses one of the worst polluted rivers on the planet the Matanza Riachuelo. The free activities teach about sustainability and people were asked to think of all the fish and birds that used to exist in the area which are now gone, adding to this to think of other cities and how they will become in the future. Environmental awareness for the next generations.

Shipping Container Schools For Haiti–How To Cut Door And Window Openings

An interesting video showing how to utilize shipping containers for classrooms and homes in Haiti. The other important thing here is the strong structure of the shipping container units which if it had been used more prior to the disasters in Haiti no doubt more lives would have been saved. Many lives and houses have been lost due to poor construction and going down the shipping container route does mean for a lot of the safety of the home or school in hurricanes or earthquakes your reliance on a poor builder isn’t needed. The building itself as a shipping container had far excelled anything that the local building codes would find acceptable and a building that will be able to ride out the storm.

Hope more of these types of structures are being utilized in Haiti to help things get back to normal.