Spanish Fort Container Park

Spanish Fort, Alabama

Designers have clamored over the opportunity to re-imagine the shipping container. The robust, utilitarian vessel that once moved goods across the world, has breadth new life as building blocks for creating new spatial environments with unlimited possibilities. With hundreds-of-thousands of shipping containers never returning-to-sender, it is an obvious choice to find new innovative ways to commoditize these abandoned, well-engineered objects into prefabricated emergency shelters, retail/restaurant pods, affordable housing, and in this case, parks for public gathering and recreating.

The site is located in Spanish Fort, Alabama at an existing community park & playground, which includes a fishing pond as the focal point for the container park project. Each container prototype has been carefully designed to activate smaller, more intimate al-fresco dining spaces. The smaller patios are adjacent to a large event lawn envisioned for picnicking, outdoor cinema, farmer’s market, and live music. At a micro level, each prototype responds to specific restaurant criteria that incorporates serving windows, walk-up bars, interior/exterior dining both at-grade & via roof terrace. At the macro level, each restaurant prototype is arranged in effort to coexist with their neighbors to define & interlock dining spaces to a larger, more cohesive public dining experience.

The spirit of the project is an expression of the “mom-and-pop” shops of the local community. Each shop exudes their unique cuisine via supergraphics, materials, and their own flare to create a mosaic that’s soulful and authentic. The containers purely serve as a canvas reflecting the community’s personality, and the prototype design & site arrangements create several spatial conditions to encourage social interaction and placemaking. The notion of prototyping, prefabrication, and adaptive reuse is inherent within the potential of shipping containers, and this project strives to fully investigate the design opportunities.