The Bard College Department of Experimental Humanities’ Lab is made from 4 recycled shipping con-tainers. They were installed in half a day in the middle of the campus, close to a Frank Gehry concert hall, completely finished as shown, and fully operational in a couple of weeks. The double wide, double tall arrangement yields a 15’ wide, 17’ tall main space, and a second floor office totaling 960 sf.
The project arose out of a grant of $100,000 and was prefabricated, delivered and installed in half a day at a cost slightly over $200,000. As a prototype, it offers schools and universities an affordable solution to their urgent classroom space needs.
The budget required that we explore options beyond conventional construction. We tapped into some of our previous explorations and projects with shipping containers and offered a completely prefabri-cated building that needs no more on-site work than the pouring of concrete foundation walls. At the end of the half-day installation, the Lab was occupied and within a few days, fully operational.
The Lab will rotate between various departments at the college; flexibility was therefore a given. By adding a large pivoting garage door that opens to a quad, the main room, a 17’ tall space, will trans-form to a stage-set for performances, concerts and theatrical events — engaging the quad and ensur-ing a productive relationship between the building and campus at large.
Our practice has made an effort to off-set our more robustly budgeted projects with affordable ones. The pre-fab solutions that we offer as stand-alone products are amongst the most affordable building solutions in any urban or near-urban area in the US. We hope they can help individuals, organization and businesses that would otherwise be unable to engage with architects and architecture for their building needs