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.