Architects are increasingly recognising the value of shipping containers as flexible, sustainable and cost-effective building materials. To put their potential to the test, Mobile Mini and the University of Huddersfield tasked second year Interior Design (BA) Hons students with creating innovative retail, leisure and study spaces for the Grade I-listed Temple Works in Leeds.
Temple Works is a former Victorian flax mill once famed for being the “largest room in the world” and is now a thriving cultural and arts hub, presenting unique challenges for architects as a result of its vast size and historic status.
Using a blueprint of a Mobile Mini 20 x 8ft container, the students initially worked in small groups then went on to develop their own responses using the containers to form usable spaces.
Street Bar by Abigail Weegram – a bar and street food-style restaurant aimed towards bringing the chef and diners together in a relaxing restaurant atmosphere – was named as the winning design. Mobile Mini praised the innovative use of modern technology and use of colour in the two-storey design.
Zoe Brookes, marketing manager at Mobile Mini, said: “We were particularly impressed in the way food was presented to diners from a moving food cart and the storage container was split lengthways into dining and cooking areas, creating subtle integration of the restaurant’s two functions.”
In second place was Canz Café by Katie Robinson, which utilised a container and the idea of a can of soup to create a simple yet effective café. Fresh Café by Jennifer Walton was named as second runner-up, with Thoughts & Crosses by Abigail Hancox claiming the third runner-up prize.
Zoe Brookes added: “Shipping containers are really versatile; not only can they be used for storage, but we are now also seeing a trend of conversions for use in housing, burger bars, coffee shops and hotels. With a little bit of creativity, the possibilities could be endless.”
The prizes were presented by Mobile Mini on a visit to the University of Huddersfield’s Queen Street Studios last month. Abigail Weegram was awarded £100 for her project and the three runners up Abigail Hancox, Jennifer Walton and Katie Robinson were also awarded £75. The winning designs can be viewed on the Mobile Mini website.