German International School Sydney Uses Shipping Container Classrooms
The thought of a shipping container classroom might make you think of something austere and industrial – perhaps something for a state school that’s really strapped for cash? The German International School Sydney (GISS) has developed teaching spaces that would make rival schools jealous. This is shipping container repurposing with real style.
The GISS needed to get some new classrooms, and a parent of a pupil who attends there is an architect. Architects are very fond of shipping containers, as you might gather looking around the Gateway Gazette.
Here at Gateway Container Sales we have looked at very basic container based classrooms, such as the classroom for street children in India. That is at one end of the scale – utilitarian and somewhat basic. At the other end of the spectrum you have beautiful mansions that use the container as a building block for aesthetic reasons. The GISS classrooms are at this end – a statement, yet a cheap and effective answer to ever pressed school budgets.
The teaching spaces
The structure is made up of 12 x 40ft shipping containers arranged to create four teaching spaces. They are double height, allowing for an airy space that might not be possible even in a high cube container. The upper level is open at both ends to allow light into the space below, and inside the upper level is low power air conditioning that uses far less energy than many systems available here in Australia.
According to a statement on the GISS website, “The school’s eco focus has been embedded in the project, four spaces uniquely designed with two containers at floor level and another stacked over the middle, forming a double height void with glazing to the south. The void encourages natural ventilation, maximises glare free daylighting and prevents the spatial compression of an otherwise all flat ceiling plane. The upper containers also provide compartments for air conditioning equipment and heat chambers to promote passive heating and cooling. The lower containers form large focus alcoves for presentation, engagement, reflection and display.”
Core to the school ethos is that they encourage the pupils to be ‘progressive and forward thinkers’, and in a space like this one can see how the students can find an inspirational space in which to learn, exchange ideas and to present their work. According to the Chairman of the school board, Bernd Winter, “At our school we encourage our students to be progressive and forward thinkers, therefore this pioneering solution to transform containers into creative spaces was embraced by our school community. Offering flexibility and catering to all school years, the container classroom design was a practical answer for our School’s expanding requirements”.
Shipping containers aren’t neo-brutalism!
Many look back to the 1970’s and see austere concrete architecture that many refer to as ‘brutalism’. Shipping container architecture, which has only really taken hold in the early 2000’s and on, may well be argued to be ‘neo-brutalism’ thanks to their industrial, hard edges. This need not be the case. Shipping containers can be a lot more than that – how about ‘inspiring’, ‘calming’ and even ‘beautiful’? At the core they are practical – this whole teaching space may well only be there for a few years before it is broken down and moved on. That is a very good facet to have…
Inspired by this shipping container school?
Buildings like the German International School Sydney can be constructed quickly and effectively. Contact us now to discuss your options when it comes to building with recycled shipping containers – we can make modifications onsite or if it’s more complex we’ve got access to a wide variety of specialists in the local community from architects, to builders who are experienced in construction with shipping containers. Give our team a call or get a free quote.