There is a new buzzword in the area of construction. “Cargotecture” refers to the architecture style that reuses end-of-life shipping cargoes into container homes, offices and other useful structures for a variety of purposes. When a group of these structures are built close within one another, a container city rises.
Shipping containers have long been repurposed as add-on interior spaces, an excellent solution to the global problem of recycling post-consumer metal waste. But that novel approach to decommissioned cargoes was more practical than artistic, especially in Third World countries where resourcefulness is a necessity in order to be efficient with limited resources. Now, with more and more design firms gaining perspective and experience in “cargotecture” and environmentalists supporting the idea, container cities can also be aesthetic aside from being functional.
A shipping container city in Mexico is one of the few burgeoning “cities” of this kind after the initial success experienced in container cities in United Kingdom. This is seen to gather more steam as the idea of creative recycling of what otherwise would be bulky pieces of landfill catches on across the globe. The fact that Mexico City has managed to design an outdoor and commercial space that is both tasteful and useful only adds inspiration to the doable idea that shipping containers can be more than just 8×40 foot boxes used for storage.
Contrary to initial notions that container buildings lack visual appeal, fold-out structures made of repurposed shipping containers can actually be designed such that comfort, ergonomics, functionality and aesthetics come together fluidly. A shipping container city in Mexico is not only unique, but also a testament to the craftsmanship of the proponents of this green movement in building and construction. Because it is built on the convincing premise that post-consumer items such as these can live life beyond salvaged metal and take on useful and artful forms, Mexico’s container city attracts hordes of environmental enthusiasts as well as urban dwellers with eclectic tastes in art.
More specifically, Mexico’s version of container city attracts hordes of partygoers and music lovers. There is a thriving community of art galleries, café shops, restaurants, bars and shops with a lot of attitude and creative flair in this small corner of Cholula, two hours away from Mexico City. The container city also houses living spaces for equally open-minded residents.
There are about 300 million shipping containers sitting idly and gathering rust at dry docks and empty ports around the world. From this perspective, the world’s steel trash is on a grand scale. A shipping container city in Mexico may have only used 50 of these metal boxes, but it is a start that points towards a promising prospect of reducing our global waste and providing creatively designed interior spaces that can both address short-term and long-term housing and business needs.