The challenge HQ Architects faced was to design and build a students' village in a short period of 4 months. But there was another big challenge: to create a valuable urban and communal project, that will support its physical and social environment, in the existing economic political situation.
The site is located on a hill in the city center of Sderot, south Israel, where an abandoned school exists. The large school yard is over-looking the new city's covered market. This situation was HQ's opportunity to connect the project with the city center. The old school's classes were reused and turned into a students' center that opens towards this yard. The students' apartment units are made from used cargo containers that have been transformed to be habitable, and were arranged in rows facing north-south to create outdoor spaces between them for the students' benefit.
The biggest constraint the project faced was the lack of time. So the design strategy was to "buy" time. Each decision that was taken allowed the designers to examine more possibilities and delay other decisions for a later phase when mores issues will be cleared. The design was reduced into 3 elements: Left container, right container and a shelter unit between them, that functions both as a constructive element, and as a necessary part of each apartment in this tensioned area. Each container is a 60 sq m 2 bedroom apartment for 2 students. During the design process the containers were stored in a nearby site, and the shelters were being manufactured in a nearby factory. Once the building permit was received, the project was piled up within two weeks.