In 2008, nearly 500,000,000 shipping containers traveled the world’s oceans. We have all seen them. They are immediately recognizable. ‘It is a shipping container… TVs live there, not me surely…’ If you stack these crates, well we’ve seen that too. What if it’s placed, rotated at an angle, on top of another? Perhaps it settled there after the last flood? The use of this damning box as architecture would seem to be at an impasse. Until one considers OceanScope, designed by AnL Studio in Incheon, South Korea.
My professional analysis of this observatory/ exhibition space is simply ‘wow’. Building with shipping containers has been attempted in ways similar to those stated above for years now, but so far none have ‘broken the box’ without substantially removing the identity of the container. Situated at 10, 30, and 50 degrees, the containers become more than the steel shell they spent their past lives as. The containers are not altered in appearance except by the punching of windows and the insertion of stairs. Yet the angles make all the difference. Once drab, immediately ignored lines become skew. They take on a new life.
The observer, looking out over one of the largest ports in the world, does so in a building that is as ‘excited to be there’ as the observer is.
© AnL Studio