‘vissershok container classroom’ by tsai design studio, cape town, south africa all images courtesy of tsai design studio

tsai design studio is a creative practice based in cape town, south africa, that uses a multidisciplinary approach to generate innovative solutions to design and architecture. the firm was one of the speaker’s at this year’s design indaba conference, south africa’s major design event which invites the world’s top visionary minds to address business and resourcefulness in relation to their practices and on a global level.

the studio presented the ‘vissershok container classroom’, a completed prototype that transformed a 12 meter long recycled shipping container into an independent classroom. the project was initiated during woolworths’ annual design competition ‘making the difference through design‘, where local high school pupils were asked to come up with creative solutions for a container classroom. sponsored by three south african companies – woolworths, safmarine and AfriSam the winning proposal by grade 10 student marshaan brink was then passed on to tsai to further develop and complete.

tsai design studio: visserhok container classroom sheltering roof top

located in the picturesque durbanville wine valley of south africa, the facility has a capacity for 25 elementary students. the rural school provides the children of local farm workers and nearby underprivileged communities a space for education and learning. built with a limited budget and access to resources, the final structure consists of a sheltering top, outdoor play area, amphitheater, community space and garden.

the dramatic roof shields the recycled unit from direct sunlight, while the gap in-between acts as a heat buffer to reduce heat gain. cross ventilation is achieved by a series of colorful windows on both sides of the structure. part of the winning entry that was maintained in the final design is the integrated jungle gym for the younger kids of the school and a green wall in the form of a vertical vegetable garden that shelters the play area from the prevailing south-east winds.

tsai design studio: visserhok container classroom outdoor play area

tsai design studio: visserhok container classroom mini amphitheater with stepped seating

the stepped seating extends the patio and offers an opportunity to create an outdoor area for the school children to relax, socialize and eat their snacks. it also serve as an assembly area which is ideal for school plays and musical performances.

tsai design studio: visserhok container classroom multi-functional area

the container is designed to be multi-functional to maximize all available resources. in the morning the space is a classroom for the younger students and in the afternoon it becomes a library and resource center for the rest of the school.

tsai design studio: visserhok container classroomlayout of the school

a section of the school field adjacent to the structure is cleared and transformed into a vegetable garden.

in addition to being an educational experience, the space will allow the school to have fresh produce for their feeding program.

project info:

location: vissershok school, cape town, south africa program: community project client: safmarine shipping type: commissioned project area: 50sqm status: prototype completed, ongoing