So many countries in the Middle East and North Africa rely way too much on concrete for their building needs, but Libya Design bucks the trend with Doshma – a new creative hub built in part with a used shipping container.
Opened in June, 2013, this striking new arts center is the talk of Tripoli.
Inspired by the 2011 Libyan Revolution, which culminated in longstanding despot Muammar al-Gaddafi’s ouster, Doshma provides an exciting new model for urban architecture in the Mediterranean city.
Granted, the domed glass shell is probably not the wisest material choice since it’s bound to trap heat and ratchet up energy costs, but given its minor footprint of just 140 square meters, the center won’t require much to stay cool in the first place.
But we love the shipping container, and not only because it’s recycled.
In addition to reusing a material that would otherwise languish at port, Libya Design, Allabina and HudHud have infused their cultural icon with an idealism rarely seen in contemporary North African architecture.
During the revolution, this particular shipping container was used to deliver aid to revolutionaries who fought hard to wrest control of their country out of Gaddafi’s greedy hands.
“Doshma is an architectural response to a country’s struggle,” says Libya Design’s Chairman and Co-Founder Walid El-Turki.
Other materials used for defense are deployed as well, further emphasizing the revolution’s symbolic role in the project’s design. The vaulted interior is used not only to exhibit work produced by local artists but also to carve out a sacred space to share ideas and socialize.
Unlike the cold hard ambience of concrete architecture, the exposed aluminum infrastructure lends an intriguing industrial essence to the center. Far and away the most exciting project to hit the city in some time, Doshma has the potential to spur more of the same.