A Shipping Container Prefab Lab Is Built in Only 4 Hours

By Lucy Wang
A two-story prefab made of shipping containers offers a speedy solution to shortages of space on this college campus.

When classroom space was becoming limited for at Bard College in New York's Hudson Valley, representatives from the school looked to MB Architecture for a fast, effective fix. By utilizing prefabricated structures, the architects were able to design and deliver just that. 

Installed on site in half a day, the pre-finished and retrofitted shipping containers were assembled in as little as four hours, and were fully operational and occupied several days later.

The only site prep required was pouring the concrete foundation walls.

The only site prep required was pouring the concrete foundation walls.

The new Media Lab on the middle of campus exemplifies the speed and efficiency of prefab cargotecture. Built double wide and double tall, the boxy two-floor building offers 960 square feet of adaptable meeting spaces and performance areas for the Department of Experimental Humanities

Installation started at 11 a.m. and the second floor was stacked by 3 p.m. later that same day.

Installation started at 11 a.m. and the second floor was stacked by 3 p.m. later that same day.

Following assembly, the team, directed by lead architect Maziar Behrooz, added trim boards between the upper and lower floors and connected the electrical and plumbing lines to the site utilities.

SnapSpace Solutions fabricated the cargotecture building. 

SnapSpace Solutions fabricated the cargotecture building. 

 "The project arose out of a grant of $100,000 and was prefabricated, delivered, and installed in half a day at a cost slightly over $200,000," says a member from MB Architecture. "As a prototype, it offers schools and universities an affordable solution to their urgent classroom space needs."

Stairs lead up to a small loft-like office that overlooks the meeting room below.

Stairs lead up to a small loft-like office that overlooks the meeting room below.

The architects expressed the multiple functions of the Media Lab through designing flexible and open-plan spaces that cater to meetings, lectures, workshops, exhibitions, performances, and more. A glazed garage-style door swings up to open the double-height main room to the quad, while also creating a stage for concerts and theatrical events.