Today shipping containers are used to build apartments, hotels, stores and saunas to name but a few. But why does it make sense to build schools out of containers?
The first reason is that especially old wooden school buildings are likely to have mold issues that may cause severe health risks. For example an article of a Finnish science magazine Tiede states that every second school in Finland has mold issues (source). Students are therefore either forced to stay in their mold school or move to another school. Container schools could be installed in relatively short time and with relatively low costs.
The second reason can be studied from Samsung. In 2012, the South Korean electronics chaebol established a shipping container school in the South African village of Phomolong as a part of its corporate-social responsibility program. The school offers its 21 students premium education facilities with solar powered electricity system and notebooks, an Internet connection and Samsung Galaxy tablets. (source)
In Orange County California, creative architects had an over three months projects of expanding the Waldorf School in Costa Mesa by using shipping containers. It took 99 days to build four buildings out of 32 shipping containers. The eco-friendly construction project cost two million US dollars which was estimated of being 10-20 percent cheaper than an “old-school” building project. Also it would have most likely taken more time than 99 days to finish by using other material than shipping containers.
There are many types of internationally standardized shipping containers. Some have an open top and some can be opened from the sides. Thereby it gives designers limitless opportunities to develop mobile education facilities. In order to solve mold related problems or take education to less developed areas, governments, nonprofit organizations and companies’ CSR managers should look for containerized education solutions.
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Tuomas P. // SMC Editor