Container City UNI Contest India

TinySmart - Smart solutions for student homes India / 2020

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Living Small, Living Smart


how to reuse containers to create affordable living spaces


La Spezia is not a big city, but has a quite long history of sea, ships, movement of goods and tourists from all over the world.


A small reality in a big world, with a port able to compete at european level, that grows every year, but with a risk in this evolution: what happens to disused containers, once they end their average life? for now, they're stored in specific areas, creating small hills with fading colors, waiting for a destiny to be demolished. Waiting for a long time, due to bureaucracy and high disposal costs.


Although this is the "here" and "now", there is another side of the story: the city's relationship with the sea and with its port is constantly evolving, and university is a proof of that. Polo Marconi is relatively young, compared to the more established italian universities, but in less than ten years of life is becoming a center of excellence for disciplines such as naval design and technology, yacht design and mechatronics.


That means a place capable of attracting students from the surroundings, but also from Italy and abroad.


Learning space and labs are ready, but what about the city? While everything evolves quickly, she seems a little unprepared for the "jump" into the future: old  houses, rents still too high and unsustainable for young people on their first experience away from home. 


So... how to avoid wasting materials and resources, and in the meantime create affordable and new spaces? The answer can be in these simple two words: container homes.


Smart, fast, non expensive, quick to adapt and compose on any type of site, on land or on the water, with the plus of simple metal structures: the container homes are installed here in an urban void, a space left unused on the back of a new building, not far from the university centers and well served by public transport, flat and therefore also excellent for getting around by bike or scooter.


The houses are assembled by creating two floors, limiting the heights and leaving the air of a small garden-district, rather than a concentrated high-rise. The units on the upper floor are rotated, as to slightly change their exposure and create a little game of light and shadow that breaks the monotony of laying in line. Being perfectly modular and prefabricated, the units can be combined, or doubled, coming to accommodate one or two people. And they can be transported and assembled as desired, on any type of site.


Smart and recyclable materials are combined with the basic metal structure of the container, here chosen in the compact 20 ft. We chose internal insulating panels in cork, ventilated wall in wooden slats, double-glazed windows, ecological wallpapers and laminate floors with wood effect (see Prarie by Ikea); all to ensure an all natural well-being and be eco-friendly, all in a young, colorful, fresh environment.


Not only the used materials are recyclable and/or recycled, but the houses themselves can be laid and composed in multiform and multi-storey neighborhoods; and each of them can be used as accommodation for students, temporary workers, or as affordable housing in every case of social need or calamity, due to their easy availability and cheapness, also reducing to zero the waste of materials.

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    Living Small, Living Smart how to reuse containers to create affordable living spaces La Spezia is not a big city, but has a quite long history of sea, ships, movement of goods and tourists from all over the world. A small reality in a big world, with a port able to compete at european level, that grows every year, but with a risk in this evolution: what happens to disused containers, once they end their average life? for now, they're stored in specific areas, creating small hills with...

    Project details
    • Year 2020
    • Client UNIXYZ Inc
    • Status Competition works
    • Type Urban Furniture / Neighbourhoods/settlements/residential parcelling / Student Halls of residence / Modular/Prefabricated housing
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