Safmarine Container Sports Centre

This project by Tsai Design Studio signals how an innovative use of new materials and techniques and an imaginative take on recycling can breath new life and pride into both an industrial by-product and a disadvantaged community. We look forward to more like this...

The lifespan of a globe trotting sea freight container is normally only 10 years, although it is built to last for at least 20 years. Eager to inject new life into these retired containers stored at the docks, SA shipping company Safmarine commissioned us to develop several prototypes for their CSR community projects. These include prototypes for sport centers, computer labs and emergency relief housing, each to be rolled out in numbers.

The sport centers, a reincarnation of the 12 meter long container, are intended for school fields or community grounds as an anchoring point that accommodates a coach’s office, two change rooms and a equipment store room. In order to fully benefit the disadvantaged communities, we also added several multifunctional elements to the program in order to maximize its use:

Sheltering sky:

A sheltering roof is placed over the container to shade the spectators. It is sculpted with sharp edges and folds to celebrate the dynamic energy of sports.

The extra layer of roof also insulates the container from harsh sunlight, while the gap in-between allows light penetration and cross ventilation that reduces heat buildup.

Grandstand Seating:

In most sports grounds, the grandstand seating or pavilion is the place where people congregate and meet to watch a game. Therefore we also attached a small grandstand seating under the roof canopy as a meeting point for the children.

Advertising / movie screen:

The roof structure folds down vertically on one side, and can be used for advertising and / or a movie screen. The advertising billboard can be rented out as a possible source of income to sustain the centre, or as signage for the sponsors. At night, the big screen can be turned into an outdoor movie theater for the community.

The first Sport Center prototype, sponsored by Safmarine and their shipping customer, Star South, was built under a month to coincide with the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The town of Piketberg, 120 kilometers outside of Cape Town, is selected as its home to serve and benefit one hundred children who belong to the “Stars in their Eyes” programme - a project run jointly by a Dutch company and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport in the Western Cape, where each participating disadvantaged community is twinned with a Dutch football club to train local coaches with football techniques and life skills.

Project Name : Safmarine Container Sports Centre
Location: Piketberg, South Africa
Architects: Y Tsai Design Studi
Project Area: n/a
Project Year: 2010
Photographs and text: Y Tsai