Vissershok Container Classroom
TSAI Design Studio
Classroom and library solution for schools.
The Vissershok Container Classroom is a combined classroom and library solution designed for a rural school in Cape Town, South Africa. The project was designed to host a class of up to 25 children between ages five and six and a small library that serves the entire Vissershok Primary School. The solution was designed by TSAI Design Studio which is based in Cape Town and has been recognized with the Silver Medal at the 34th Lorie Awards in the architecture category in 2013.
The solution responded to the need of providing covered spaces with a reduced budget.
This product has been implemented by TSAI Design Studio and and was co-sponsored by Woolworths, Safmarine and AfriSam.
Students and teachers in rural areas
Shipping containers are mass-produced for the transportation of goods. The structural capability, modularity, transportability, and interior space capacity of shipping containers are advantageous for their application in this type of solution. The site preparation consisted of the construction of a concrete platform and steps to adapt the classroom to the existing site and create outdoor space for the children. The platform is also the foundation for the shipping container that was transported and installed using a crane. To protect the shipping container from direct sunlight, designers added a roof composed of a steel structure and corrugated metal panels.
The product is provided by TSAI Design Studio.
As of 2020, one unit has been built in Cape Town, South Africa. According to the designer, the client intended to replicate the building in around 20-50 schools in South Africa but the plan did not unfold due to the economic recession Interview with designer in 2020
Indication of whether design can be replicated in multiple locations
Number of individuals. 1 family = 5 persons.
Number of days from start of construction to completion
Surface area of footprint
Number of occupiable floors (ground floor only = 1)
Primary materials used
Composite estimated R-value
As calculated by designer
As calculated by designer
Based upon primary structural system as per the International Building Code
Based upon Structural Occupancy Category and soil conditions of site; as per the International Building Code
List of suitable climates for use of this design
The internal dimensions of the shipping container are 12.05 m length, 2.36 m height, and 2.35 m wide. The container has a 66 m³ capacity.
The designer stated the building was implemented using robust building materials “so local laborers can maintain it without any special skills.” Interview with designer in 2020
The lifespan of a typical shipping container is between 10-12 years for use in shipping industry. However, depending on maintenance, shipping containers durability could exceed twenty years. The designer manifested the building can withstand between 20-30 years with regular maintenance, especially with “new paint and rust sealant.” Interview with designer in 2020
The designer sought to provide a learning area for a classroom and library, a gathering area with an outdoor patio, a play area, and a garden area. The leaning area was designed to provide space for up to 25 children ages between five and six and a small library for the school. The patio served as an exterior space for children’s gathering and the garden area is used as an educational tool to teach students about growing vegetables.
Only testing performed by the users, no third-party testing has been completed. Interview with designer in 2020 Exact results from user feedback are unknown.
No third-party organizations, only testing performed by the designer.
No known safety hazards are related to this product.
Water tanks for rainwater harvesting and occupancy sensors and LED lights to decrease energy consumption. Interview with designer in 2020
The designer affirmed the building followed South African building regulations. Interview with designer in 2020
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