On saying “shipping containers” you might think of their huge size, their durability, or even their striking colors. You won’t probably relate them to architecture. However, there are those who thought these containers could serve as new architectural spaces. They are the people behind the Egyptian start-up Qubix who are up-cycling shipping containers to create innovative spaces. By this they pioneered the industry of container architecture in Egypt, or what is called “cargotecture”.
The story of Qubix
The story of Qubix started in 2016 when two entrepreneurs, Karim Rafla and Youssef Farag saw potential in the container architecture in Egypt. Having studied Business and Finance, both Rafla and Farag did not come from architectural or engineering background. However, they deeply studied how to work with such material and shape it in different ways. After that they expanded their team and pioneered in the industry of cargotecture in Egypt. Since then, Qubix created around 50 unique projects for clients in industries ranging from retail, construction development, F&B and residential.
Q-med portable medical unit
This year Qubix launched their latest product, Q-med. Q-med is a fully equipped portable medical unit that can serve anywhere. It mainly aims to increase the reach of medical suppliers and providers in different regions. In the meantime, considering the challenging health situation the world is facing, we deeply need medical care to be as widely accessible as possible.
We can use Q-med units in rural areas or wherever there is lack of proper medical care. “Currently we can have up to 30-40 fully equipped clinics per month. These clinics can serve schools, sports clubs, compounds and wherever on-site medical insurance is needed.” Rafla says.
Prefabricated materials in building hospitals
What’s unique about Q-med is that Qubix used internationally approved anti-bacterial materials for fabricating the units. As a matter of fact, China used the same prefabricated container architecture techniques in building hospitals rapidly in Wuhan city to face Corona Virus crisis. Regular building methods would have taken them ages and they needed to build as many spaces as soon as possible.
Some previous work from Qubix
Tower Development booth:
They used 40ft containers for the ground floor and one 20ft container on the G+1 level along with a 45m2 roof area. Roof is enclosed from above to protect from rainfall. Inside the unit there is a large reception, a bathroom, kitchenette, with large shared working space area.
ZÖÖBA in Sheikh Zayed
This daring design by NAYA Labs, featured geometric wooden cladding, shading structures, outdoor seating furniture and greenery structures. They mainly used 20ft containers, finished as a kitchen to fit the client’s operations. The unique colours and theme uniquely shows the potential of designing with containers.
The Walk of Cairo
It is a collection of containers serving as a commercial F&B area for the entertainment area of the project. The design featured two levels and several cantilever components. It consisted of 9 20ft ISO shipping containers ranging in use from RestoContainers, service areas, lockers and bathrooms.
Mountain View Ras El Hekma
The project embodied the Greek spirit. Qubix used two containers to build this unit. The look was complete with Teakwood external cladding. Clearly this design shows the adaptability of Cargotecture.
Upcoming Qubix projects
Concerning the upcoming projects, Qubix is aiming to expand more in the consumer market. They will be offering smart home solutions. If you want to add extension space whether it is pool house or an extra room, Qubix got you covered. Using smart panels, you can have any size you want put together in full house following the same concept of IKEA furniture but for full spaces.
“We will be also offering smart solutions for construction sites”, Rafla says. “Qubix will be expanding in the industry of mobilization units for construction and petroleum sites as well. We’re currently working on game changing solutions that will change the market.”
The world is in need for more practical building techniques that save time, effort and most importantly are eco-friendly. Reusing materials like shipping containers, saves the cost and pollution of creating materials from the scratch. With such examples proving success and adaptability, we would like to see more innovative container architecture projects in Egypt. Check more on that in the latest project Zed Park Sports Facility.