Reid Coffman

Deploying Shipping Containers for Innovative Living Architecture Design Education

Academic training and investigation for innovative living architecture demands educational
settings be conceptual, experiential, and cost effective. To assist, we advance the idea that
shipping containers offer an acceptable setting for faculty and students investigating kinetic
forms of living architecture and opportunities for reflective thinking. Described here are three
separate, uncoordinated academic engagements exploring moving, sliding and mobile green
roofs and walls on shipping containers that occured in the design studio, field laboratory, and
public setting. When collectively viewed, the outcomes of the projects indicate a positive use of
shipping containers as conceptual and participatory spaces for living architecture education and

Living Architecture and Biological Dispersal

Many vegetative roof systems deliver biodiversity and conservation goals, but it may be less appreciated that roofs function as a nursery, exporting biological materials. Interestingly, we have observed one green roof performing two forms of plant dispersal, thus demonstrating the potential for vegetative roofs to offer nursery services to their surroundings. We describe the project, explain the dispersal strategies, provide a brief discussion, and define the terminology of terrestrial-roof link, agent dispersal, and self dispersal, in an effort to aid in understanding the nursery function of green roofs. Continuing and future research on the dispersal mechanisms of the roof are also briefly discussed.