The Enduring Attraction of Containerized Urbanism

Architectural historian Mitchell Schwarzer traces the historic roots of container architecture and argues that today's shipping container developments, like Proxy in San Francisco, are leading the way to a new kind of urbanism.
February 14, 2013, 8am PST | Places Journal
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The repurposed shipping container has become a fixture of urban architecture — part of a movement, as Schwarzer argues, toward an "urban design as flexible, responsive and electric as the currents that feed it."

On Places, Schwarzer examines the rise of container urbanism from the mid 20th century to now, from Archigram and the Metabolists in the '60s to the pop-up markets and modular housing of today; and he sees in this latest phase a "landmark change" for architecture.

"By facilitating an almost instant building complex," he writes, "the containers put architectural production more in sync with the speed and transitoriness of contemporary life, forcing it to respond to a city’s many complex, adaptive systems."

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Published on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 in Places Journal
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