Following the many interesting developments in Detroit these days, one gets a sense that the city’s post-industrial landscape is fertile ground for innovative design. A boutique hotel made of shipping containers seems to back up that trend.
Collision Works, as the project is called, touts the structural merits of shipping containers. “Shipping containers are considerably more durable than standard construction, can cost less, and most importantly are about 30 percent faster to build,” writes project founder Shel Kimen.
Similar plans for low-income housing in Detroit built from shipping containers were scrapped during the recession. And there are other precedents—Steven Flum, who designed a development made of shipping containers in 2007, will advise the project. Distill Studio’s New England “Box Office” has been successful in attracting tenants since it was completed last year. The firm’s Joe Haskett told Core77 they didn’t set out to design a building from containers, but it reduced the project’s environmental footprint and its bottom line.
Even so Haskett said he worried it would be written off as folly. Good design made sure it wasn’t. Likewise some may view the graffiti-splattered renderings from the Detroit Collaborative Design Center and worry the conceit reinforces “ruin porn” stereotypes of their city. KOOP Architects’ design will factor into the final verdict on that, as will the future of the project’s Eastern Market neighborhood. They plan to break ground in spring 2013.