Learning Spaces

Shipping forecast

What has Holland’s Barneveld Noord Railway Station and a Mumbai skyscraper designed by CRG architecture got in common with Dunraven School in Streatham? The answer is that they’ve all relied on the common shipping container as their primary building block: the raw material required for Max McMurdo’s latest venture.
Dunraven School in Streatham

We’ve had standardised shipping containers since the 1950’s and it didn’t take long before people started converting them into habitable spaces. However due to their availability, cost (you can pick up a used 40 foot single-journey container for around £4,000 or a 10-journey one, which might have a couple of ‘dings’ in it for less than half that) and eco-friendly credentials, Deadheads (the name given to reclaimed retired containers) are starting to be seen more frequently as offices, restaurants and even learning spaces. There are an estimated 30 million redundant containers worldwide, with many more in the West due to an imbalance of trade between the Far East and Europe. So if you’re from Dundee, you’ll probably be familiar with the 37 shipping containers used to build accommodation for creative start-ups on Dundee Waterfront. Or if you’re from the Shalesmoor district of Sheffield, you’ll probably be aware of Krynkl – a similar development that incorporates a Jöro restaurant due to open later this year and which was designed by Coda architects again using (yes, you’ve guessed it) the humble shipping container. Further west, Bristol hauliers, Bristol & Avon Group followed suit for their headquarters office just off the M49 designed by Mackenzie Wheeler architects and even Central London isn’t immune – Thomasina Miers’ Southbank Wahaca restaurant next to the South Bank Centre is also built out of them.

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