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by: Stacey Vee @MissStaceyVee   ·    27 February 2014

Library in a box

Architects were challenged to come up with a creative, cost-effective design for a school library. The result is a clever – and colourful – space for young bookworms, built entirely out of shipping containers.

You might have seen container living in the headlines lately – old shipping containers repurposed as homes or offices. In South Africa there is an amazing example of shipping containers used creatively, in this case as a primary school’s library. This innovative design is by the Architects of Justice, and brought to life at MC Weiler Primary School in Alexandra, Gauteng.

The brightly painted library is made of two shipping containers that have been stacked one on top of the other at 90-degree angles. It’s not just for students to access information, but also a space where they can read and do their homework. The bottom floor is the main library and the top floor is a work space, and includes an outdoor reading deck. The entire area around the library is finished off with durable synthetic grass, replacing the former bare sand of the school quad.

The library is called the SEED, which was inspired by the tree of knowledge and stands for Supplementary Extended Education Device. It was commissioned by the MAL Foundation, a not-for-profit advertising agency, with the intention that the design would be used “as a blueprint for future libraries in South African schools”.