The idea of using a shipping container as a classroom may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about a day care centre for kids but two pre-school centres operating under the REAL Kids brand have proven that unconventional building materials can be used to create thoughtful designs and functional spaces.
The typical shipping container measures 40 feet long by 8 feet wide by 8 feet tall. They have been used to build cabins and existing home additions in the US, Australia and NZ. Closer to home, shipping container hotels have opened for business in Penang and Ipoh, and several short-term sleeping modules are available in the basement of KLIA2 Airport terminal.
The REAL Kids Setia Indah centre in Johor occupies a total land area of 1,384 sq m. and stands two-stories high. Construction began in February and the centre opened in May. The REAL Kids Bukit Tinggi 2 centre in Klang occupies a total land area of 996 sq m. Construction commenced October 2010, and the client was able to occupy the property and launch operations in January 2011. Sixteen pre-fabricated containers were assembled to form two wings with 14 classrooms and functional areas standing 3 stories high.
The two REAL Kids centres have been successful test cases on several levels. The decision to use containers for modular construction meant groundwork excavation and site impact were significantly reduced. Reuse and recycling of containers to reduce the usage of raw materials embody the eco principles of sustainability.
With good planning and preparation, the use of pre-fabricated building units significantly reduced on-site construction time while serving as the building blocks of an aesthetically creative solution.