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Shipping Container School in Thailand Teaches Sustainable Construction

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BANGKOK – When it came to building its new campus, Thailand’s International Sustainable Developmental Studies Institute (ISDSI) subscribed to the motto of “teach by doing.” The program, which is aimed at teaching American students about sustainable construction, built its new campus almost entirely from shipping containers.

The campus’ main building is comprised of 17 well-worn shipping containers that were sourced from Bangkok’s nearby ports. The designers insulated and repurposed the metal rectangles, welding them together and stacking them on top of each other at various angles to create the geometric three-story campus.


The boxy building is structured around an open air corridor of stairs and platforms that lead from one container room to the next. An overhead canopy gives the space an indoor-outdoor flexibility.

Like most shipping container designs, the architects didn’t use the boxes wholesale. To give the space a sense of openness, the designers cut windows into the sides of the containers and reused the leftover material for doors, sinks, canopies, and other building features. According to the school, not a scrap of metal went to waste.

By Liz Stinson