The project represents an experiment in low-cost, context-appropriate, family housing with the use of ISO shipping containers (seven in phase one – 90 m2 completed in 2017, four in phase two – 40 m2 planned for 2018) facilitating growth over time.
The intention is to efficiently use containers in as close as possible to their original state, expressing rather than concealing their robust aesthetic – sandblasting reveals their weathering corten steel – in order to engage explicitly with the eclectic maritime character of Ringsend, a neighbourhood in the heart of Dublin’s container docklands.
This honest, industrial, material language extends to the use of galvanising – taking its cue from the existing galvanised container door hardware – for all external steel structural elements and detailing.
The fine, shiny zinc finish contrasts well with the earthy oxide-red matte finish of the containers. And galvanising allowed a tough, uniform, high-quality finish to be applied in a single, off-site process to both structural steel and custom-made large-scale assemblies (vehicle and pedestrian gates, window surrounds and balustrades).
Components were welded and bolted together from standard steel components e.g. flooring grate panels, steel angles and box sections.The process facilitated a consistency of expression across these and other off-the-shelf galvanised elements e.g. sliding gate hardware and service infrastructure such as the electrical connection panel.
In this way galvanising – in addition to its durability and cost-effectiveness – plays a primary, integral role in a context-appropriate architectural strategy to present both a harmonious whole and an honest assembly of discrete elements.
Images © Erika Luka and Gareth Byrne