Keep Talking by Caroline Ingalls

Sustainable Practices in Design class at SCAD that is taking the Boxport idea forward! 

There is some very exciting news that the idea for Boxport is continuing on. The graduate Sustainable Practices in Design class at SCAD has accepted the challenge of diving head first in to the project during the Spring 2015 quarter. It has so much potential to be something spectacular in Savannah, so it is incredible to have a group of such talented creative minds put their ideas towards the concept. There will be architecture students, design for sustainability students, and a service design student collaborating with each other in the class. With those diverse areas of focus, the triple bottom line aspects of environmental stewardship, social equity, and economic benefit will all have the opportunity to flourish.

This past week, we had the pleasure of talking with Ryan Gravel, who is a Senior Urban Designer at Perkins + Will and is the original idea behind the Atlanta Beltline. Mr. Gravel did the proposed concept for the Beltline as his master's thesis at Georgia Tech in 1999. Since then, the Beltline has taken off and is rapidly transforming and revitalizing the city of Atlanta. We were able to gather some wonderful insight from Mr. Gravel on how to take a positively impactful concept to something that could be implemented. He helped us to really understand how essential ideas like Boxport and the Beltline are for the benefit of cities. They come from within our communities, developed from the heart and are representations of the voices of those communities. They are designed to be inclusive, educational, inspiring, healthy, supportive, and the adjectives can go on. It is never about making money or a name. It is about accommodating the needs that present themselves within communities. An opportunity for a healthier, happier, and better quality of life. 

After speaking with Mr. Gravel, I have some great confidence moving forward, and I know that this class will take Boxport to the next level in an unbelievable way; no way that I could have done on my own. I am moving back to southern California shortly to be closer to family and my home, so I am thrilled that I am able to see Boxport embark on its next step. As I have said earlier, I do not want this to be my project. Sure, I developed the idea for my Final Project class, but I believe it really came from Savannah, and I want nothing more than to see Savannah take it to its potential. If I have mapped it out correctly, I think it will create a pretty spectacular network of people here, because every last person in this city has the opportunity to be a part of it. If that's not social equity, then I am not sure what is! 

New Ideas on the Way by Caroline Ingalls

This past week I had the pleasure of attending the graduate reviews for the current Design for Sustainability master’s students at SCAD. This review allows them to go on to the Final Project of the program, where they have the opportunity to take on any project of their choice that pertains to the values of sustainability. Four very talented girls gave thoughtful and thorough presentations, and each of them have decided to take on very different yet extremely influential areas of sustainability.

Some great points were raised and ideas were discussed in those presentations. I really enjoy hearing about other people’s perspectives on sustainability and design, and what strategies we can use to make the world a better place. I believe that by putting all of our creative minds and collective knowledge together, we could really make some serious impacts. Sustainable change is not something that can be done individually; it requires all of us to come together and use our many talents to achieve a greater good. Here are some compelling excerpts that I pulled from the presentations: 

"Every fundamental human need that is not being met is a poverty."
"Sustainability is not a compromise; it is a way for us to connect more deeply than ever with others."
"Our challenge is to harness the power of people to make the world a better place."
"Awareness does not necessarily mean action, but it is one step along the way."
"Humans and nature must exist in productive harmony." 

As people, we have come so far in creating and innovating to achieve the lifestyles that we have today. Why don't we harness that power and intellect that we have and use it to give back to the earth all that it has generously given us? The planet has benefited us entirely, so why can't we live in a way that benefits the earth as well? These are just a few things to think about. It's almost back to the basics of childhood learning: don't take more than you can give. 

I am really looking forward to the ideas and strategies that come out of the SCAD sustainability students' final projects. They are tackling areas of social sustainability that have the potential to make a significant difference in the lives of many people, communities, cities, and beyond. They are looking in to new methods of communication; even looking in to emphasizing sustainability through music festivals. That is genius to me. It can be a tough connection to make, but once you think about it, the younger generations today are driven and inspired by music. It lifts people up instantly, so how can we put sustainability in to that equation? I can't wait to find out! That's the sort of 'out of the box' crazy yet awesome thinking that can really take us to the next level of sustainable change. 

Week 10 - And Beyond by Caroline Ingalls

Eat Street Markets, Brisbane, Australia. Photo ©2014 Caroline Ingalls

The past couple months have been quite a whirlwind, so that is why I unfortunately am just getting back to the blog until now, I must confess. In that time frame, I completed my master’s degree in Design for Sustainability (yay!), spent the most incredible ten days in the beautiful country of South Africa, one week in Europe, and a few more weeks back home in California catching up with friends and family. Now I am back in Savannah working for Gulfstream Aerospace as an intern in the sustainability department. I am really looking forward to what this year brings. Last year was fantastic having the opportunity to travel across the globe from Australia to Africa, immersing myself in the sustainability industry and not to forget, spend some quality time riding my horse. I learned so much while experiencing different cultures and discovering why I am so passionate about sustainability and design. Things are looking very bright for the coming year.

Having the opportunity to work on a project like Boxport was especially valuable because it forced me to get out in to the community, meet new people and share my ideas. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I will not deny that I expected to get a good amount of mixed feelings on the idea, but I have to say about ninety percent of the people I presented the project to loved it. The other ten percent gave me great constructive feedback that I will most definitely be taking in to account for how Boxport can be better. All in all, I feel very lucky that it was so well received, but there is still a long way to go for a project like that to take flight. Thinking about the whole experience, I remembered that my ultimate goal with Boxport was to plant the seed for the idea and inspire as many people as I could. I am positive that I achieved that goal.

The Watershed, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa. A large warehouse full of pop-up shops with local craft and design, representing Cape Town's designFuture. Photo ©2014 Caroline Ingalls

I have so much excitement for our city of Savannah after firsthand experiencing what other cities in and out of the United States are doing to promote themselves as well as contribute to their communities. It is very pleasing to see that the strategies that they are utilizing are very design driven. In Brisbane, Australia, I went to a marketplace completely made up of repurposed shipping containers, with local art, food, music, craft and design. It is a new type of destination that people of all ages can enjoy, and the place was packed every night. In San Francisco, California, I visited Proxy, which is a similar concept to Brisbane and Boxport with the use of shipping containers to promote commerce, community and culture in one. Then in Cape Town, South Africa (which topped my travels this year), I was just plain blown away. Cape Town is well deserving of their current title of World Design Capital, and it was great to be there while they are holding it. It is a remarkable city almost all by its lonesome way down there in the bottom of the southern hemisphere. Everything in Cape Town was so carefully and thoughtfully designed. It is truly a place that breathes inspiration, and it is constantly growing. A lot of things in Cape Town reminded of the opportunity that lies in Savannah. Cape Town was not much of a city until some entrepreneurs brought ideas back from their travels and simply made it happen. They said ‘this is awesome, we need this in Cape Town’ and they did it.

I cannot stress enough that that is exactly what we need to do in Savannah. We have some great features already, but we must never stop innovating. Savannah is a city of innovation. That is why we are so historic; it is because we were (and are) always innovating. Cotton, steam ships and architecture, and now flight, cargo and food, just to name a few. We are so powerful, creative, smart and ridiculously appreciative of our past. Let’s keep this going and make things happen, just like the Cape Town creatives.

Week 8/9 - Coming To Life by Caroline Ingalls

©2014 Caroline Ingalls

The past few weeks have been very good as I have been making significant steps to keep Boxport moving forward.  I was fortunate enough to sit down with President of Visit Savannah, Joseph Marinelli, for a second meeting on the progress of the project.  He has helped me out tremendously in terms of determining the best design that fits Savannah's "historic + hip" aesthetic and what role it would play in the community, as well as facilitating more valuable connections for the project within the city.  Therefore, the Boxport idea is growing and reaching out to influential players in Savannah, especially with the help of people like Joe Marinelli and Page Siplon of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics.  It has been very well received so far, which I am quite pleased with, but there is still a long way to go. 

The above image is one of the renderings of Boxport, placed in the intended site underneath the Talmadge Memorial Bridge.  As noted before, this site would be quite perfect because of its narrow width, directly touching the Georgia Ports Authority's Ocean Terminal, the Springfield Canal (which was a historic trade route essential to the development of Savannah), SCAD and the Historic District.  No matter what, the site should remain in this area as it clearly serves as a significant connection point between the major entities of Savannah.  

The rendering is a depiction of what the final phase of the space would look and feel like, as well as an idea for scale.  This view features retail, a great deal of greenery with indoor and outdoor gardening, green roofs for reinstating natural habitats as well as providing insulation, and of course lots of outdoor space to have some fun and relax.  The permeable paving allows for easy maintenance and low water use over a traditional grass field.  Reclaimed wood is the primary material for all interiors of the containers as it is 1) extremely sustainable and 2) extremely gorgeous because it has a story to tell.  Visitors to Boxport should feel the experience of sustainability, allowing them to understand how innovative and valuable it is to communities and personal well-being, and not to forget how beautiful and easy it is.  Once people have that experience, I hope that they would be inspired to incorporate sustainable values in to their own lives. 

The plan below reflects the qualities of the site.  The Ocean Terminal at the Port of Savannah is directly on the other side of the Springfield Canal, and there is a SCAD building as well as The Hue student apartments on the other side of Warner Street.  The containers would sit perfectly between the large posts of the old bridge that crossed the Savannah River before the Talmadge was built.  Boxport has a mix of twenty-foot and forty-foot TEU's (twenty-food equivalent unit containers), which allows for great versatility in design.  The circles behind a couple of the containers are rain barrels for catching rain water so that water can be reused for the community garden and the rest of the landscaping.  Grey water from any sinks on the property will also be filtered and used to water greenery.  Once the grey water moves through its filtration system that will be located on site, it is perfectly safe to use on vegetable plants and others intended for food.  We send so much good water down the drain when we wash our hands in the sink and take showers (although there will be no showering at Boxport, I hope), why not find a way to use some of that excess water?

Boxport will serve as a premiere for the future design of community spaces.  Containers have already gained a lot of popularity in that realm, but for it to facilitate a connection point between significant entities of cities, such as Savannah, grow awareness and appreciation for container shipping, and inspire sustainability, well that is quite innovative.  As I move in to the final week of the quarter, I am once again so pleased with the amount of interest and support it has gained, and this certainly will not be the stopping point of Boxport.  It is only the beginning!  

Here's a great quote to keep in mind: "Our goal is a delightfully diverse, safe, healthy and just world, with clean air, clean water, soil and power - economically, equitably, ecologically and elegantly enjoyed" - William McDonough of Cradle To Cradle Design 

Boxport site plan.

The Life of a Shipping Container by Caroline Ingalls

The Life of a Shipping Container infographic which has been thoughtfully brought to us by Southwest Mobile Storage Units

I came across this interesting infographic that provides a brief assessment of the life of a shipping container.  It is pretty fun to think about how far it has come, and to think how far it will go in the future.  The shipping container has done so much in the past sixty years, what will its influence be in the next sixty years?  How can we extend the life of containers even longer by taking advantage of their simple yet effective design for other uses like architecture, resiliency and more?

Week 6/7 - Schematic Design by Caroline Ingalls

Schematic designs for different phases of Boxport.

I am nearing the last few weeks of this project for school, and it is very hard to believe.  I will move in to the final phases of design now that I have a firm grasp of the direction the Boxport is going.  I came up with some conceptual ideas for the space and it's different phases this past week.  I placed them in the desired site which is underneath the Talmadge bridge in Savannah at a location that serves as a connection point between the river, the Port of Savannah, SCAD, the Springfield canal (which was an influential trade route in Savannah's history), and the edge of the historic district.  All of these essential aspects of Savannah collide in this one site, and it is perfect for a space made of shipping containers because they are so adaptable and modular.  It is long but only spans about sixty feet wide, so it would be an awkward area for a building.  How perfect for architectural legos then?

As I said in my last blog post, there will be a preliminary phase to the project centered around gaining awareness and interest in the community, which would allow us to gauge a response from Savannah on the concept of Boxport.  This would be done hopefully by setting a container or two in downtown Savannah as a temporary installation, serving as a gallery space for an event that people can freely move in and out of, as well as possibly have local artists paint the sides as public art, inspired from 'Bomb the Box' at Boxpark in London.  This is intended to get the public thinking about the concept of containers making up a public space in Savannah that is open for everyone to enjoy, immersing themselves in sustainability and shipping.  

The concrete phases will then follow from phase one, two, three, to as many as necessary to reach the final outcome.  Phase one will not plan to be permanent.  To get a sense of the scale of phase one, take a look at the first image on this post which is of a smaller group of containers.  It will be just enough to form a space for gathering around a few containers, hosting retail and some food and beverage vendors.  Boxport would host an event in phase one at the space to bring the community there and have an opportunity to show off all of its potential.  From then on, phase two would be a transition from temporary to permanent, gathering partners and stakeholders, and building valuable relationships within the community.  It would continue to grow in size and scale, eventually transforming in to the final outcome of a destination merging the three "C's" of commerce, community and culture, telling the untold story of the invisible shipping industry to all of its visitors and beyond.  

I would like to greatly thank Page Siplon, Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, for taking the time to meet with me several times already.  He has provided me with very valuable insights on the steps the project should take and the direction it should go to allow for the possibility of it coming to life.  At this point, I may be ambitious, but I do not see Boxport as just my final project in school.  The idea came from school, and it has become evident that the concept is certainly a "blue ocean" in the city of Savannah if you ask me.  Therefore, I am designing it so that it may actually happen to the best of my current ability, and I will continue reaching out to members of the Savannah community and beyond to create a network for Boxport to thrive in hopes of reaching this goal down the road.

Boxport site beneath Savannah's Talmadge Bridge.  

Week 5 - Moving Forward by Caroline Ingalls

Aesthetics and experience are absolutely key when designing a destination for the community.  Proxy in San Francisco by Envelope A+D  has got that down!   

After my midterm presentation a few days ago, I now have a much more concrete idea for the direction I would like to take the project over the next five weeks and hopefully beyond.  I especially want to focus on the aesthetic of Boxport and the experience that the visitor will have above all, and then work from there in developing a strategic plan of project phases from starting small in the community to growing more and more over time.  That means putting a lot of concrete ideas and systemic methods down in to the design in terms of space planning, interior and structural design as well as a business plan.  

The end goal of Boxport is for it to be a destination that is constructed of several containers featuring spaces that will help commerce, community and culture in Savannah thrive.  That will be done so through rentable retail spaces, public urban settings for relaxation, conversation and events, as well as environmental graphics that tell stories in order to connect visitors to the great adventures of containers.  Boxport will lift the 'cloak of invisibility' on this 'invisible industry' of global shipping and allow for transparency between people and B2B operations.  That is the end result and the final phase, which I will shortly visualize for everyone to have a better idea of what I mean.  A great place for Boxport to take place would be under the Talmadge bridge in Savannah, right by SCAD, The Hue student apartments, and a large hotel that is in the works.  It is walking distance from river street, and just outside the historic district, which is perfect for visiting tourists.  Boxport will communicate the 'historic yet hip' and 'classic yet cool' vibe that the city of Savannah is striving for these days.  

To get to this end goal, we must work through a series of phases as it would take quite some time.  Those phases can slowly help us build and expand on the site, developing new partnerships and involvement from the community.  For Phase I, I would like to get some containers out there in to the public.  It could just be one or two temporary containers at the desired site under the Talmadge bridge, or placed in other plots in Savannah.  This could even be 'Pre-Phase I', serving as a type of campaign and advertisement for the future project that would follow over time.  This would help to get the project's message out to the community in a playful way, stimulating curiosity, interest and engagement within Savannah and beyond.  That interest from the city will help to build the strong foundation to get a project like this on its feet and moving towards an end goal versus sitting idle.  If the community gets excited and once that is accomplished, we can then move in to the more formal and permanent process of implementation, carrying out the multiple phases of growth and expansion to get to the end vision for Savannah Boxport.  


Here is some cool inspiration for this concept: 

Art-Box was commissioned by Maersk Line and the Ports of Auckland to travel the world and educate people on the value of container shipping.  

PARK(ing) Day in San Francisco

Bomb the Box at Boxpark Shoreditch in London 

Maersk containers on display in downtown Norfolk, Virginia as works of art.

Week 5 - Midterm Presentation by Caroline Ingalls

This past week I had my midterm presentation for the Boxport.  I am very excited and pleased at how many influential people in the Savannah community came out to see what I have been working on.  Thank you very much to Page Siplon of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, Lori Judge of Judge Realty, Clinton Edminster of Art Rise Savannah and Well FED, Jackie Jackson Teel of the Metropolitan Planning Commission Natural Resources, Charisse Bennett of The Creative Coast, Monique Silen, Nick Deffley, Monica Letourneau of SCAD Interior Design, Jody Jenkins, Denise Grabowski, Ramsey Khalidi of the Southern Pine Company, Ankit Darda, Tarana Harris Mayes of SCAD's Thread Blog, April Lee, Eric Green, and my professor Scott Boylston for making it a good one.  It was wonderful to have so many great people in the same room together discussing container possibilities, and I look forward to working futher with everyone.  I have gathered a lot of great feedback and am very pleased with the community support that I have acquired.  I am excited for what the next several weeks will bring!