"Contertainer" - polyclinic and library made from 8 used containers in Indonesia


"Contertainer, designed by dpavilion architects of Surabaya – Indonesia, is an amalgam of two words: container and entertainer. From its outer look, at a glance one can see an architectural form made of several brightly painted containers—red, yellow, blue and light green—in attractive position and composition, thus forming a contertainer.

Principal architects of dpavilion, Edwin Nafarin, once muttered: “I want to create architecture that would please many”. Contertainer is one of his works that manifests his architectural creed.

Contertainer Is situated in Batu, East Jawa, Indonesia. Batu is a relatively new town which still retains a strong agricultural nuance. Perhaps it is a town with a village-like atmosphere. Contertainer is a public facility, consisting of a polyclinic and a library, where ordinary people can come and use the facilities for free. The appearance of the contertainer in town can be perceived through various angles, for the appearance of an architectural work would be followed by many effects which it produces.

One question to reveal: why dpavilion architects, as a designer of polyclinic and public library, started its idea from container? Perhaps there are several factors. First, a logical one: container is a firm structure with human-scaled spatial aspect (in spite of its real purpose as container of goods), so it is rather practical, quick and cheap to be transformed into architectural work (a 2,4m x12m used container costs only 8 million rps, there are 8 containers). Second, a morphological factor: container has a unique characteristic, a hollow block with standardized sizes, with potentialities to be designed with extreme and provocative manner. Third, symbolical factor: these containers, now utilized as a polyclinic and library, had travelled around the globe. Hence, a container is a true adventurer.

The containers utilized as a polyclinic and library are used container, a true adventurer, is undoubtedly representing the library. Books, “the windows to the world”, are placed inside such container; an appropriate collaboration, is it not? May it stimulate the children reading at the library, fulfilling their curiousities to explore terra incognita.

Also, a container has dynamic nature, it moves and shifts, yet it also transformed into static, unshifting architectural being. To force a container to remain still, is seemingly against its dynamic nature. Yet the designers celebrate its dynamic form through a twisted, non-linear composition. This is enhanced with supporting columns placed uncongruently, making the contertainer enjoys its dynamism.

The contertainer is also a parody, the dichotomy of architecture as a place for activities (which considers human scale) and as expression (expressing emotion and the will of artist), the contertainer exhibits containers of goods as containing human beings. We may ponder upon this: how important is human being for architecture? How un-important is human being for architecture?" dpavilion architects

Design: dpavilion architect
Location: Kota Batu, East Java, Indonesia
Photography: Ganny Gozaly