Shipping containers have formed the backdrop to the Over het IJ Festival for more than two decades, but for its twentieth anniversary, festival organizers decided to go one better, creating a "temporary city" for festival-goers and performers alike.
Over het IJ is an avant-garde theater festival that takes place annually at Amsterdam's NDSM shipyard (NDSM being the Dutch initialism for the Dutch Dock and Shipbuilders Society). The festival takes its name from the city's IJ waterway.
Though NDSM was never a dock or harbor, containers have nevertheless accumulated over the years, and several are now property of the festival. For last summer's twentieth anniversary, the architects and urban designers of O+M were called in to put the containers to grander use.
To meet the brief, O+M stacked container upon container to create an enclosed courtyard that served as a restaurant area by day and theatrical stage come nightfall. The interiors of several of the containers were fitted with rudimentary furniture to create sheltered dining rooms.
Because extra containers were required, O+A worked with a container rental company, Pieterse Containers, which assisted in the construction of the "city." O+A's Auguste van Oppen tells Gizmag that the set took four days to build and two days to take down, lasting only two weeks in between.
The project is a reminder that though "container culture," (if I can call it that) is increasingly producing semi-permanent and permanent shipping container buildings, the medium is ripe for temporary pop-up or parasitic architecture. Though apparently low-fi, O+A's Over het IJ set illustrates the versatility and ease of use of the shipping container (though don't skimp on the risk assessments).
O+A are in talks about a possible "sequel" for the 2013 festival.