London’s Boxpark Shopping Mall? The Application in Malaysia?

Spotted this at TREEHUGGER. The thought of giving an input or two. I think I will list out some points here first.

  • Boxpark is a new shopping mall built from standard-sized recycled shipping containers.
  • The container village is painted black and white and contains 60 containers which are stacked two stories high and five rows wide.
  • The restaurants are small-ish, with most having only a few other locations in town.
  • As the developer explains: “The reality is, it’s very hard for small brands to be able to afford long leases and it’s difficult sometimes for them to get beyond the financial covenants required for big shopping centers.” However there are some big ones in there too: Levi’s, Puma, Calvin Klein and Nike all have shops.
  • No one is allowed to have anything on the outside of the store, other than their name. This does democratize the concept in quite a surprising way, visually.
  • One critic called it “perhaps one of the least imaginative uses of the shipping container realized to date.

Ok so, of course, some do think it’s a cheap thing. But it does good, I agree with what it says, it’s good for some small brands to start up from here as they could escape from the long leases and financial difficulty. Ok but bad to the reality, the usage of shipping containers into such usage isn’t new. Another example would be this.

  Developer Roger Wade describes it:

Boxpark strips and refits shipping containers to create unique, low cost, low risk, “Box Shops.” Put them together with a unique mix of international fashion , arts and lifestyle brands , galleries and cafes and you’ve got the worlds first “pop-up” mall- so named because its basic building blocks are inherently movable: They can, and will, literally pop up anywhere in the world.”

The use of shipping containers means that units can be fabricated elsewhere, and introduced instantly to the mall. They are being seen as an ideal building material; they’re stackable and weather resistant, and thanks to their standardized sizing, they create great modular opportunities.

I love the way he describes this, but yes we do have critics as always against the simplicity idea of sustainable practices. But can this be done in Malaysia? Yes, it’s been done, as temporary guard post at various locations. But as of something with the frequent usage such as BoxPark or other residential? Nope, simply because our climate doesn’t address with the design of this container. but if done with several modifications, of course. But the whole great idea of these containers is their modular forms that make complicated things simple.

It looks well for me, actually could be nice if I see this somewhere around Bukit Bintang near the pavilion. You would realize eventually the simplicity of the forms and facade doesn’t compete with the surrounding architecture. And it’s also well said because it’s a temporary space,and most importantly, it’s being reused!