container urbanism


Here I would like to contrast two moments of container urbanism. The first arose within late modernism, from around 1960 to the early 1970s, when a nascent container urbanism movement, epitomized by the Japanese Metabolists and the British group Archigram, sought to break up the mass and method of those vast and monotonous building ensembles which were then reengineering urban existence. Proliferating technological systems — from elevators to electric wiring — were amalgamated into gigantic fixed infrastructures that supported individual (and presumably mobile) containerized units. Then, around the new millennium, a second phase of container urbanism, including the DIY phenomenon, veered to a design stance more in tune with our age of citizen participation, global commerce and miniaturized technology. Instead of attempting to construct an ideal and self-contained urban ensemble , container urbanisms are learning to make use of existing infrastructure and disused industrial artifacts, like the shipping box — fostering a vision of the city as fresh as the latest tweet and as august as a caravan marketplace.

more from Mitchell Schwarzer at Design Observer here.