The Art of Shipping Containers
London, England is soon to boast one of the world’s most exciting arts facilities. Whilst the city is already home to established, world renowned art galleries, showing everything from old masters to contemporary sculpture, “Silvertown Studios” will become home to 151 artists’ studios.
Sea Container Studios Form Part of London Docklands Revitalization
The innovative project will be based in the capital’s historic docklands area, which has already witnessed major redevelopment over the past 35 years, with old redbrick warehouses transformed into spacious loft apartments and high-tech office complexes rising up all along the riverfront. No less than 193 interconnected shipping containers and flat-pack cabins will be used to provide safe and secure spaces, in which artists of all kinds can make and store their work.
All in all, the site will cover nearly 5,000 square meters of prime real estate, right in the heart of London. Initial planning permission is for a period of 5-years then, after which, the Corten steel shipping containers can simply be relocated, thanks to their inherently portable nature. All it takes is a large truck equipped with a crane to move them on to their next site.
Steel Shipping Containers Offer Flexible Solutions for Bold Urban Projects
Silvertown Studios is described by its developer, V22, as a “creative cultural container city” and these champions of art envision a vibrant, working community, featuring workshops, public facilities and commercial units, with Conex boxes stacked up to three-storeys high. There will also be gardens to relax in, exhibition spaces, restaurants and lively bars.
It’s a good bet that Malcolm McLean (the original American innovator of the intermodal shipping container concept) had no idea how his idea would be developed, when his first container ship, the Ideal X sailed from Newark down the coast to the Port of Houston in 1956!
Cool Norwegian Art Gallery Constructed from Conex Boxes
The art theme continues in the town of Tjuvholmen, Norway, where a hugely impressive gallery, called GAD, has been designed by MMW Architects, incorporating eight steel shipping containers and configured over multiple levels. The impressive structural integrity possessed by all Conex boxes made from Corten steel, means that modules can be safely stacked and the roof of the highest container can be used as an al fresco exhibition area in fair weather, rather then just being dead space or a home for the birds.
Containers can also be cantilevered out, to provide practical, visually-arresting building designs. Add full-length windows and you create a genuine wow factor. At GAD they have also cut circular cut skylights out of the Corten steel ceilings, to flood the Conex boxes’ interior spaces with natural light, which is ideal for displaying pictures and sculptures.
Intermodal Containers Enable International Art Shows and Exhibitions
Because shipping containers were designed from the ground up to be portable, they make perfect venues for travelling art shows and other exhibitions. They can easily be loaded on to trains and cross oceans on freighters without the need for unloading. This really opens up the potential for international art fairs, as the precious contents of the boxes will always remain safe and dry.