Shipping containers are commonly seen on the backs of trucks all over the world, but few of us are accustomed to seeing them in our schools! You can find these containers for sale in Perth, New York, London, Cape Town, and just about any other major town or city throughout the world, and their durability makes them ideal for long-term building projects. From North America to Africa and Europe, people are recycling and repurposing these containers to combat the lack of free space in schools, creating much-needed classrooms for their students. Here’s a quick round-up of some of the best ones around so far.

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Vissershok School, South Africa

This school has modified a 40-foot shipping container to make a classroom that can accommodate 25 first graders. The school managed to build this classroom on a very limited budget, and they also had to add additional modifications to help cope with the heat. They modified the shipping container by adding a sunshade above the classroom,to allow air to circulate and help to keep the temperature down during the hotter times of the year. Orange County

Waldorf School of Orange County, USA

One of the biggest school projects was the one undertaken by the Waldorf School in Orange County, California, which added an additional 10,000 square feet of classrooms by modifying 32 shipping containers. The additional space has been put to good use with toilets, a student lounge, offices and an auditorium being added to the school’s facilities. This amazing project cost the school around $2 million USD, and was extremely successful; so much so that it won the 2011 Costa Mesa Green Design Award for its design and use of materials. studio-h-container-classroom

REALM Charter School in Berkeley, California

This California school had its students design new classrooms using 40-foot secondhand shipping containers, and called it Project H. The teachers leading Project H gave the students control to plan their classroom, source the materials, and also build the classroom themselves. This was deemed a tremendous success by the school and also gave the students practical experience in planning and construction. Students got to use angle grinders, blow torches, welders, and and countless other tools (under strict supervision, of course). When a structure is built from recycled shipping containers, it can easily be broken down, moved, and then reassembled in a new location. The whole process takes relatively a fraction of the time that it will take to build a concrete structure of similar size. This, too, will be much better for the environment. + Vissershok + Waldorf Orange County + REALM Charter School Lead image via Container City

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