The Bard College Department of Experimental Humanities’ Lab is made from 4 recycled shipping containers. Designed by MB Architecture, using PPVC, the lab was 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 4.5m wide, 5m tall main space, and a second-floor office totaling 89 sqm.
The project arose out of a grant of $100,000 (N36 million) and was prefabricated, delivered and installed in half a day at a cost slightly over $200,000 (N72 million). 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 prefabricated 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 5m tall space, will transform to a stage-set for performances, concerts and theatrical events — engaging the quad and ensuring a productive relationship between the building and campus at large.