One of the best container architecture projects we’ve come across in recent times is the SEED library designed by SA based Architects of Justice.
The SEED library is intended as a repeatable prototype. It can only be wished that it would be repeated many times over, as there are simply too many sad and depressing places of learning in South Africa where buildings such as this could act as symbols of, and contribute to, a materially better future.
The story behind the SEED library goes back to 2010, when South Africa’s first non-profit creative agency, the MAL foundation, commissioned the Architects of Justice (AOJ) to design a world class library for children of the MC Weiler Primary School in Alexandra, Johannesburg, complete with a multi-media centre, indoor and outdoor group amphitheatre spaces etc. Unfortunately, the design went unrealised due to insufficient funding.
Undaunted by the setback, the team at AOJ sought to fulfil the promise of a new library made to the school and reviewed their design drastically in size and budget. This review was well received by MAL foundation, and being more affordable, was easily funded, thus giving birth to SEED.
Though not intended to replace the originally designed “world class library”, the SEED library serves as what has been described as ” a semi-permanent building that can be removed and placed at another school once sponsorship or funding is secured to implement the originally designed building.” Its not as elaborate as originally intended facility, but, the SEED library offers the basics of a school library; a place to access information & a place to do homework and read, and represents the most basic key concepts identified in the first design.
It is made up of two shipping containers stacked in a cross formation, with the upper container cantilevering way beyond the lower. The design is colourful, visually striking, engaging, creative, inventive….all of the things that the space seeks to inspire in its young users.