Stackable and transportable, shipping containers continue to be a popular medium for architects. But Bard College’s new media lab is not your standard prefab shipping container building. Yes, it’s got that corrugated metal exterior. Yes, it was built in mere hours with little on-site prep work beyond pouring the foundation. But this building’s double-height space and garage-door-wall make it anything but ordinary.
Designed by the Long Island-based firm MB Architecture, the $200,000 prefab structure is a prototype for a new container building system—one that offers schools a fast and affordable way to provide additional education space. Made of four stacked volumes, the design cuts through the walls and floors of all containers to create a 17-foot-tall space at one end, and a set of stairs and a loft area on the other.
The Bard building’s unique features and setting on the quad position the space as a performance venue—with the large garage door pulled up to make the interior a stage for plays, concerts, and happenings. Ample open wall space mean that it could also be used as an art gallery or project showcase.