These days, our container runneth over with inventive new ways to recondition, reconfigure, refurbish, reuse and recycle our nation’s growing mountain of intermodal shipping containers. With decades of lopsided, nearly one-way trade (read: importing) with China and other Asian markets, the corrugated, uniform metal boxes seem to multiplying. In January alone, we’ve seen several designs and completed projects, including:
- A Port-A-Bach mobile home built by Atelier Workshop in New Zealand;
- An ECOntainer Bridge by Israeli designers Yoav Messer Architects;
- A Recycling Container Theater in Amsterdam by Dutch firm O+A;
- Ken Block’s Hoonigan auto racing team headquarters in Park City, Utah;
- The unadorned Sleeping Around “pop-up” hotel from Antwerp, Belgium; and
- The triple-decker Aether outdoor wear outlet in San Francisco.
For most of these and other reuse schemes for containers, the buildings are meant to be no more than visionary ideas, temporary pavilions or one-off, eye-catching gimmicks to draw in shoppers. One company, however, is committing itself to the trend by opening a new division dedicated solely to creating permanent, sustainable containerized buildings: Boxman Studios’ new Boxman Building Division.
Boxman launched in 2008 to offer design and development for modified containers that were used mostly at various events and trade shows. In January, the new division was launched to focus on the adaptive reuse of decommissioned shipping containers as both architectural elements and as complete buildings, the company said, “to support the growing need for sustainable infrastructure in urban corridors.”
“We are fascinated with what we can do with shipping containers. In the right hands, these big metal boxes are extremely pliable,” said Boxman’s new sales director Jim Curtis, in a company statement. “We’re perfectly positioned to move into the built environment with a narrative of unique design, modularity, flexibility and value.”
Curtis also said the designs of its new division will focus on permanent and semi-permanent structures for uses such as office buildings, retails stores, apartments, multifamily residential buildings, public markets, restaurants, transit stations and emergency response centers.
Boxman Studios recently moved into a 65,000-square-foot headquarters facility in North Charlotte, N.C., and will now bring the Buildings Division into the facility under the same roof. In December, the company said it plans to double its current staff of 20 sometime in 2013.