Wednesday, March 09, 2005


I've seen several different plans for utilizing shipping containers as the building blocks for prefab construction. Metropolis has a great article about a firm, Team Hybrid, that is using these standard containers for portable medical aid stations to be delivered to Tsunami struck regions in Sri Lanka. The design is a straighforward approach that uses a hinged canopy to expand the space and divide it into a sort of triage area for interviewing patients and a back area for treatment that also features a kitchenette, bathroom, and space for a generator.

The design is simple, but the plan seems to me to be the innovative aspect. The project teams with Doctors Without Borders to staff the container clinics and even move them to suit the local needs. Team Hybrid is using a similar cooperative method for building classrooms for another NGO, the Asiana Education Development.

The success of this program could be a boost to selling the idea of the long-term effectiveness of portable, prefab structures - something that Team Hybrid sees as paving the way for truly "nomadic architecture" in which homes and materials can be re-used and passed on. The upscale homes of today can be the schools and hospitals of the developing world in the years to come.

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