One of the many challenges that a majority of South African schools are faced with is a limited number of classrooms, or a lack thereof. Many learners in rural communities are forced to have classes under a tree; while this may seem like a lovely experience, it can be very problematic, especially during winter and when it rains. Additionally, learning under a tree can be very distracting for learners and may affect the pass rate. Some schools have benefitted from the multi-functionality of shipping containers, which have been converted into classrooms.
Legson Kayira Community Centre and Primary school
In 2014, an architectural firm, A4AC (Architects for a Change), built a shipping-container school in Malawi. The Legson Kayira Community Centre and Primary school was constructed in South Africa and then transported to Malawi. The school consists of two classrooms, a central courtyard and bleachers. Additionally, the school is equipped with solar energy panels and a rain water collecting system. It took the architectural firm 8 weeks to complete the structure. According to A4AC, the structure “offers a larger covered area that provides shade, open, well-lit and well ventilated spaces. The structure becomes very efficient in terms of material vs. covered square meterage, and becomes itself a visual icon. Shade netting, lightweight steel, local masonry and corrugated iron form the architectural language of the building”. In addition to being used as a school, the building is used by community members as a market.
Costa Mesa Waldorf School
This school was constructed using 32 shipping containers, and it was built over 99 days. It has four free-standing buildings that are used as classrooms, administrative offices, a science lab, student lounge and auditorium. The auditorium is a double-story structure that is composed of 9 shipping containers.
Vissershok Primary School
A classroom was built for a school in a rural community in Cape Town, Vissershok Primary School. According to the designer of the classroom, it was built for “a rural school where most pupils are children of farm workers and underprivileged communities”. The structure was built from a 40ft steel shipping container; it is used as a classroom for Grade R students in the morning and as a library in the afternoon.
The above-mentioned projects prove that shipping containers are effective solutions to the infrastructural problems faced by many schools in our country. If you are interested in purchasing sturdy and affordable shipping containers, contact Container World today.