Inspired by the modularity and transportability of shipping containers, Johannesburg-based architects A4AC developed a pop-up bank branch that provides services to rural areas. The buildings are made of separate modules for ATMs, bank teller windows, and offices for opening an account or applying for a loan.
Each module is pre-fabricated and delivered to the site on the back of a flatbed truck. The foundation is laid prior to arrival. After the units are delivered and installed, the entire structure is covered with a corrugated roof. It takes about three months to transform a shipping container into one of the banking modules, but the installation process takes just a few weeks.
“South Africa still has a large section of the population that has limited access to banking facilities and we want to turn this around,” said Lee-Ann van Zyl, CEO of FNB Points of Presence, the banking group that commissioned the mobile units.
The first “Bank in a can” was created for a community in Mutale, Limpopo (the northernmost province of South Africa) but after a tornado damaged the Phumulani Mall in Gauteng province’s Tembisa in July, the group decided to change their plans and bring it to the recovering site, helping locals regain access to banking services.