Copenhagen's Arcgency recently completed a shipping container-based office that plays to the container's strengths as a construction material and addresses its weaknesses. Dubbed Made to be Moved, the recyclable building takes the chilly Scandinavian climate in its stride, and is designed to be easily dismantled when the time comes to move it to another location.
Comprising three stories and a total floorspace of 660 sq m (7,104 sq ft), Made to be Moved features stacked shipping containers that are painted grey to produce a uniform look. The office is currently located on an expensive plot in Nordhavnen and will be moved to another site in the near future. Therefore, Arcgency was sure to design the building so that it could be disassembled with relative ease.
"The span between the containers is utilized as flexible spaces for primary workspace functions," explains Arcgency, concerning the design. "The interiors of the containers can be used for secondary functions such as meeting rooms, workshops and storage. The raw container structure is set up in just two days. The container stack is wrapped with high performing insulated sandwich panels, also functioning as vapor barrier and cladding. They are bolted directly into the container frame – as are the windows, roof elements and interior floor slabs. Visible installations are used for water, electricity and heating, making it easy to set up and take down."
Of course, the big worry with shipping container-based buildings in all but the mildest of climates is their lack of insulation. However, Arcgency used 300-mm (11-in) Rockwool insulated sandwich panels, which have a U-value of 0.13 W/m2K, and used triple-glazed windows throughout. The firm reports that the office only requires a modest amount of heating in winter for a building of its type and location, and only open windows to cool it naturally in summer. In addition, the structure itself is an estimated 90 percent recyclable.
Made to be Moved took a total of four months to construct and was completed earlier this year at a cost of around €800 (US$889), per square meter. In comparison, Arcgency reports that a similar non-container based office in the area would cost roughly €2,200 ($2,446) per square meter.
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