Monday, April 23, 2012

Container Buildings and MVRVD

I have been fascinated with buildings constructed from factory produced modules for forty years. I was therefore very much looking forward to seeing some of the Netherland's well known 'container buildings'. Unfortunately, I missed one student housing development since it was too far away. However, I did come upon by chance the Cancer Institute Amsterdam, a temporary building constructed from containers and designed by the very highly regarded Dutch Firm MVRDV.

When you travel around the Netherlands, and especially Rotterdam, and see tens of thousands of containers stacked up along the docks and highways, it is not difficult to understand why architects and others are trying to come up with new uses for them.The Cancer Institute is a temporary building that demonstrates that container buildings need not be ugly or substandard and can be quickly assembled. This one took significantly less time to construct than a permanent building, and will be disassembled and relocated when the permanent building is completed.

(This is the concept I was proposing to the City of Vancouver and BC Housing as a cost effective and timely way to accommodate the homeless and those seeking affordable rental housing. While the structures may not be significantly less expensive on a square foot basis than permanent buildings, by applying reduced size standards, and setting them up on temporary free sites, and relocating the modules when required, the overall costs could be significantly less than building permanent homes.)

MVRDV is one of the Netherland's best known firms. They are part of what is being called the "Super Dutch" generation enjoying international acclaim for their groundbreaking and oftentimes sensational designs. They are the firm responsible for the large waterfront housing that I previously illustrated, and which would appear to be the inspiration for a large proposed new building in the 900 Block of East Hastings.

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