Architect and “founding father” of Startup Village, Julius Taminiau, thought the container would be the perfect office space for startups. The shipping container as a metaphor for the garage in which a lot of big companies had their first office (like Apple and Microsoft). By placing all these “garages” next to each other a dynamic village arises. The startups will inspire, (cross-sectoral) collaborate, exchange knowledge and produce unexpected and paradigm-shifting creations. A village also needs meeting places like a coffee bar, meeting rooms, a square and an event space which stimulate encounters and interaction.
The upcycled containers are placed around a big communal square which could be used for big open-air events. The event space is placed at the end of the square and could be used separately or as an extension of the square for network-events, lectures, symposia but also for music and movie nights.
Unique about this project, Startup Village, is that the idea, initiative, design and construction is done completely by Julius Taminiau Architects (of course in collaboration with a lot of other people and companies). This pro-active approach made it possible and feasible to realise this with a small budget and in a very short time period. Startup Village has transformed this derelict unused space into a dynamic community bringing much needed affordable work and leisure space to the Science Park and Amsterdam.
The project is temporary. We tried to keep the footprint as small as possible and make the project as sustainable as possible. Everything can be reused after 10 years; the shipping containers, the foundation (no piles, just concrete tiles) and so on. The windows have hardwood on the outside (where needed) and softwood on the inside. The containers are completely insulated, air-tight and heated with low-energy (infra-red) heating. In summer the windows on both sides can be opened to get cross-ventilation. We also wanted to create (in collaboration with Green Art Solutions) a bio-diverse small biotope on the site by planting greenery in and around the square and also on the roofs to keep the containers cool in summer. The green roofs also function as a rainwater buffer and air filter.
The dimensions of the upcycled containers (2,4 x 6 meter (small 20ft container)) are perfect for startups and provide an affordable and lockable office space. There will also be bigger connected 20ft (4,8 x 6 meter) and 40 ft containers ( 4,8 x 12 meter which could be used for scale-ups. The “low-cost” “low-energy” “circular” upcycled shipping containers provide some sort of “free” atmosphere where young startups feel soon at home and provide the means to develop, innovate, grow and professionalise. Should a startup need more space they can move within the Startup Village but also within the campus area of Science Park.
Next to this the containers will have a high percentage of glazing in comparison to the floor area and will be much lighter than “standard” offices. The spaces are very efficiently used; hallways and other traffic area will be outside the container, as most of the communal spaces will be focused on the central square. The central square and its communal places will form a big meeting point.
The shipping containers can be clad and placed in many different ways, which makes the shipping container quite an interesting architectural element to build quick and low-cost sculptural and spatial temporary building.
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