Architecture

Shipping container-based campus leaves nothing to waste

Shipping container-based campu...
The containers used for ISDSI's new campus were carefully selected from Bangkok ports
The containers used for ISDSI's new campus were carefully selected from Bangkok ports
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Thailand's International Sustainable Developmental Studies Institute (ISDSI) teaches international students about sustainability
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Thailand's International Sustainable Developmental Studies Institute (ISDSI) teaches international students about sustainability
The ISDSI's cafe is made from a shipping container
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The ISDSI's cafe is made from a shipping container
The containers used for ISDSI's new campus were carefully selected from Bangkok ports
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The containers used for ISDSI's new campus were carefully selected from Bangkok ports
ISDSI considered bamboo and other materials when it was time for a new campus but ultimately decided to use shipping containers due to their ubiquity
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ISDSI considered bamboo and other materials when it was time for a new campus but ultimately decided to use shipping containers due to their ubiquity
One of the biggest challenges of building the new ISDSI campus was that construction took place during the rainy season and the mud often made building difficult
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One of the biggest challenges of building the new ISDSI campus was that construction took place during the rainy season and the mud often made building difficult
A total of 17 containers were used for the main ISDI campus building
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A total of 17 containers were used for the main ISDI campus building
ISDSI's layout is arranged around a central open-air common area to promote ventilation
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ISDSI's layout is arranged around a central open-air common area to promote ventilation
Instead of closed hallways, the ISDSI campus is navigated via open walkways
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Instead of closed hallways, the ISDSI campus is navigated via open walkways
After being carefully selected and shipped to the site, the containers were heavily modified and joined together to make the main building
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After being carefully selected and shipped to the site, the containers were heavily modified and joined together to make the main building
The ISDSI campus is laid-out over three floors
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The ISDSI campus is laid-out over three floors
Some of the ISDSI campus containers have been painted white, while others have been left as-is
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Some of the ISDSI campus containers have been painted white, while others have been left as-is
The containers that make up the ISDSI campus have been heavily modified and have had windows cut into them
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The containers that make up the ISDSI campus have been heavily modified and have had windows cut into them
The ISDSI campus features a total of six classrooms 
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The ISDSI campus features a total of six classrooms 
The ISDSI campus also includes a common area, conference room, kitchen, toilets, a library, and a seminar room
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The ISDSI campus also includes a common area, conference room, kitchen, toilets, a library, and a seminar room
ISDSI added insulation and refurbished some used air-conditioning units to help maintain a comfortable temperature inside
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ISDSI added insulation and refurbished some used air-conditioning units to help maintain a comfortable temperature inside
Some of the uses for offcuts include the ISDI campus' interior walls, bathroom sinks and stalls, a kiosk and welcome counter in the gym and campus cafe
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Some of the uses for offcuts include the ISDI campus' interior walls, bathroom sinks and stalls, a kiosk and welcome counter in the gym and campus cafe

Thailand's International Sustainable Developmental Studies Institute (ISDSI) teaches American students about sustainability, so it makes sense that when it needed a new campus, it used shipping containers. A total of 17 containers were used for the main building and nothing went to waste, with all of the off-cuts reused as doors, walls, and the like.

ISDSI did consider building its new campus from bamboo, straw bales, and other materials, but ultimately decided to use shipping containers sourced from Bangkok's ports due to there being so many available.

One of the biggest challenges was that construction took place during the rainy season, so the mud made work difficult. Also, 10 mature trees were already on the site and the construction team had to slot the containers under them, without damaging the trees, which required a light touch. Ultimately, the project was completed in nine months.

After being carefully inspected and shipped to the new campus site, the containers were heavily modified. Some areas, like the six classrooms, are based on one container each, with windows cut into the walls. Larger spaces, such as the office, consist of two containers cut and joined together.

Some of the uses for offcuts include interior walls, bathroom sinks and stalls, as well as a kiosk and welcome counter in the gym and campus cafe. Elsewhere, the project includes a common area, conference room, kitchen, a library, and a seminar room. The containers rest atop a concrete pad and are welded to embedded steel plates.

The terrible thermal performance of shipping containers means they can become very hot or cold in all but the most temperate weather. To mitigate this, ISDSI added insulation and refurbished air-conditioning units. There are also fans and operable windows installed, and some shading is available thanks to the trees already there.

The three-floor layout of the campus is arranged around a central open-air area that promotes ventilation and instead of closed hallways, the building is navigated by open-air walkways.

Source: ISDSI

4 comments
fb36
Imagine, if a construction engineering group/firm etc created a standard (and open source) shipping container building (skeleton/superstructure) design, that enables creating buildings of any size (including any number of shipping containers)! (Realize that since it is a standard design, its earthquake/wind/flood/hot/cold etc tolerances will be always known well!) Then, realize, it would allow quickly/easily constructing buildings/towns (of any size!) for the low income people, anywhere in the world! So almost everybody would be able to afford their own house!
Wombat56
By the time they've done all the modifications and additions to make these things liveable, do they actually come out ahead in costs, compared with a normal build? Any architects or builders want to comment?
Fretting Freddy the Ferret pressing the Fret
Looks like something from the Fallout series. cool
Nik
Given the extreme humidity of the country, for several months of the year, I can see that they will need some rust treatment, and a fair amount of paint in the near future. [Wombat56] Building any structure as a 'oneoff' is always expensive in labour and time. When mass production factory methods are used, the costs reduce considerably, as once the machinery has been set up, then the major cost of manufacture has been completed. In addition, construction can be carried out inside a building, so isnt subject to the problems of weather. There are some companies that build houses in a similar way that containers are built, inside a factory, and are then shipped to site, and assembled on site. They try to use prefabricated parts as much as possible, a bit like installing a kitchen from ready made kitchen units, in principle. The savings in construction time are significant, and a house can be erected, and habitable within a week! The ground works are carried out while the building parts are being constructed. So, given the major costs of any building are the shell structure, yes, it is a major saving in time, and money.