Another productive project recycling shipping containers

Yoav Messer Architects’ competition-winning “Econtainer Bridge” will become what could well be the first bridge to be made from disused shipping containers. The bridge will cross the Ayalon River granting entry to the planned Ariel Sharon Park which will transform 2,000 acres of the Hiriya waste dump into a nature reserve to the southeast of Tel Aviv.

The designers of the 160-m bridge intend the reuse of shipping containers to mirror the reuse of the land itself. After developing into a 25 million-ton mountain of waste, Hiriya was closed in 1998. In 2004, a scheme was hatched to rehabilitate the land, and prevent collapse into the Ayalon river.

…When complete, the bridge will connect Lod road from east Tel Aviv directly to Hiriya mountain at the park’s center. The bridge will carry bicycle and foot traffic, and though closed to cars, will see some form of public shuttle vehicle ferry people from car parking into Ariel Sharon Park itself.

Clearly the most notable feature of the bridge is the use of shipping containers, which the project images show being joined two-abreast and end to end with little or no horizontal reinforcement. The conceptual design does depict three vertical legs, each comprised of four uprights arranged in an inverted pyramid. The bridge is currently undergoing detail design ahead of construction, and it will be interesting to see how the scheme adapts to see off the problems posed by the real world…

The company claims that, thanks to the use of shipping containers, 70 percent of the construction work can be carried out at the factory.

So much of our old-fashioned world is rectilinear. Which covers most of what we have to use and reuse. I think shipping containers are just being discovered as a mine of components for ever-more-useful structures.

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