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Napper designs shipping container home for Sunderland co-operative

[First look + project data + plans] Newcastle-based Napper Architects has designed this new base for the Hendon Co-op Centre made from 40 recycled shipping containers in Sunderland

The new building will house the offices of social enterprise development agency Sustainable Enterprise Strategies (SES) alongside 1,000m² of managed workspace for local companies.

‘We chose this unusual method of construction because it’s sustainable and appropriate,’ said Mark Heskett Saddington, a director of SES.  ‘SES is committed to the principle of reduce, re-use and recycle and of course Sunderland has a long association with shipping.  It’s also a relatively quick and low cost construction method.’

Napper’s design features heat exchange pumps, roof gardens and permeable hard landscaping. The shipping containers will be installed later next month with SES planning to move into the building in December.

Ian Taylor of project-funder Co-operative & Community Finance said: ‘We are delighted to help finance this exciting project which is both innovative and rooted in the local community.  It will be a co-operative landmark that demonstrates ongoing determination of Sunderland’s co-operative and community workers.’

The project is financed from the sale of the original Hendon Co-op Centre building and by grants from the European Regional Development Fund and Sunderland City Council alongside loans from Co-operative & Community Finance, The Co-operative Loan Fund and The Co-operative Bank.


Project data


Architect Napper Architects
Location Sunderland
Type of project Commercial
Structural engineers Above Ground - Furness, below ground - BDN
Project architect James Gilbert
Client SES
Funding Grant Assisted
Tender date October 2010
Start on site date 30/08/2011
Contract duration 5 months
Gross internal floor area 950m²
Form of contract and/or procurement JCT intermediate works, traditional
Total cost £1.2million
M&E consultant JH Partners
Quantity surveyor Thornton Firkin
Planning supervisor Napper Architects
Lighting consultant JH Partners
Main contractor Clugston
Selected subcontractors and suppliers Cleveland Containers (container fabricator)

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