B.Arch Thesis: Container Skyscraper at Dharavi, Mumbai, by RISHABH SHARMA



Text and Images: Rishabh Sharma

Share Post:

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Container Skyscrapper

Skyscrapers are the future of development as the value of land goes higher everyone wants to use each and every part of land.

Dharavi is the Region in Mumbai having a large number of slums and use the maximum amount of land their so for more use of land Maharashtra Government wants to use maximum amount of land in the development phase of Country.
So a Design competition is proposed in March 2015 to use shipping container as a construction material for approx. 100m high structure.

The Design is seeking to explore and investigate the possibility of a relatively adequate temporary housing solution for dwellers of the densely populated Dharavi, area – a city within a city.  The design or concept should be one that is inspirational and of high quality tall construction using used-shipping containers as building modules.

India’s commercial capital Mumbai, Dharavi spreads over 500 acres. Besides being a dwelling place, it is also a work center and a center for recycling and small scale industries, where people live and work together, making it a truly green community. Houses consist of ground or ground plus one unit attached end on end to form a complex and highly dense linear mass. The streets, often only 4’ wide, run like the arteries through the settlement, providing light and ventilation to each of its units made from recycled tin or plywood planks nailed together.

Mumbai is the big port with easy availability of shipping container.

Keeping in line with its modular and recyclable character, a vertical high-rise made from recycled shipping containers seems to fit the need.

It should be a design solution that responds effectively to achieving such a tall and large-scale housing solution in the form of a skyscraper and one that could be replicated next to each other to form a mini Steel City in Mumbai.

To design a skyscraper or series of Skyscrapers as a housing solution for the deprived area of Dharavi in Mumbai, India.


  • Minimum height of the structure is 100m. ,which we can call a high rise structure but if we consider this height for containers then this seems as a skyscraper because all we need is a core structure that use as a support for the containers.
  • Main design and concept is about the support and supply of containers and their services on such height.
  • To study that how to use shipping container as a building material not only as a small housing unit but how to arrange them so that it can form a large vertical structure.
  • The project Seeing an overall understanding of the site context, the community, culture and need for improved living standard
  • The main objective is that it rightly address the issues of sustainability, circulation, energy use, ventilation and lighting by the cleaver adjustments in the design and structure.
  • The skyscraper will serve as residential accommodations for the workers and families who now reside in dwellings and an area considered one of the largest slums in Asia.
  • To identify the way to make shipping container a place not only for living but also for comfort ability for the people live there for a long time.
  • To design a unique building because it is first kind of building itself in India and the use of shipping container at such large height.


  • The scope of this project is to provide an architectural design for a high rise building where building units are of shipping container and a proper structure built with the steel and R.C.C. that support the building and containers and having proper service planning that can serve with the change of containers and building itself.
  • Shipping container having certain dimension that use for the construction, so unit plans are planned while containing the dimensions in mind.


  • My design explain about the planning, fixing, structure and services for the shipping container with respect to the high rise structure.
  • It does not deals with the manufacturing, providing and supply of the containers to the site.
  • It also explain about the basic service layout for the respective services like electric, plumbing, drainage, AC, power and data, but not with the detail locations.


  • As per the study we need a steel or R.C.C. frame work and the containers are placed as a module structure in the frame.
  • So my overall concept is setting up containers around a courtyard which work as wind tunnel when the structure goes up.
  • Container are develop in the set of 4 towers after the opening to the central courtyard as per the wind direction.
  • Central courtyard also having the lifts and staircase for the vertical movement in the tower.
  • There is a narrow opening provided between the containers on the basis of short column in a tower which help in flow of high pressure cold air to the corridor.
  • Narrow opening also help in segregation of container modules and separation in the building from the high air pressure at such height.
  • Central courtyard work on the principle of stack affect after providing the narrow opening between the containers and help in providing the warm indoor air in winter and cold indoor air in summer.
  • These narrow opening also work as service casement for the horizontal flow of service pipes.


Share your comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You May Also Like

Rethinking practice, teaching and new collaborative initiatives - Shikha Doogar, Shridhar Rao, r + d Studio

Rethinking practice, teaching and new collaborative initiatives – Shikha Doogar, Shridhar Rao, r+d studio

r+d studio is led by principal architects Shikha Doogar and Shridhar Rao. The studio is founded on their experiences comprising a stint at Gehry and Partners. r+d studio witnessed opportunities to rethink their practice procedures, involve in teaching virtually and start-up a new city collaborative initiative called Gurgaon Design Collective. The pandemic was handled by r+d studio with a positive outlook, safety and security of the team and nurturing new tech ideas through their new venture RD Labs.

Read More »
Kecherile Veedu, at Kecheri, Thrissur, Kerala, by Finder Studio

Kecherile Veedu, at Kecheri, Thrissur, Kerala, by Finder Studio

Traditional Kerala homes are rich in memories; of the long-forgotten smell of the first rain, the sound of raindrops falling in the courtyard, people sitting and conversing around it, the feeling of the warmth of mud walls and wood,  the coziness of spaces;  one may find him or herself drifting into their nostalgic memories of yesteryears every once in a while. – Finder Studio

Read More »
Persisting with tech for an ever-changing world - Sushant Verma, rat[LAB]

Persisting with tech for an ever-changing world – Sushant Verma, rat[LAB]

rat[LAB] was founded on the technological strength it possessed. The studio has already been functioning as a team of remotely working associates from different time zones, with cloud computing as one of their practice tools. The pandemic experience has shown the team that technology supports their practice to adapt to the surprises that the world can throw at us. Additionally, savings from previous projects has helped the team stay afloat, in any case of fears that they may have encountered.

Read More »
Towards increased flexibility in practice - BanduksmithStudio

Towards increased flexibility in practice – banduksmithstudio

banduksmithstudio, a closely-knit team, experienced the hindrances in their internal and on-site coordination as the significant challenges. Moving swiftly into the virtual space to coordinate and continue work as the lockdowns were enforced, aided in levelling up the studio’s flexibility. The studio believes they adapt to any forthcoming challenges too to flexibly stay in collaboration with fellow practitioners.

Read More »
The Office Next Door, at Vesu, Surat, by The Concept Lab

The Office Next Door, at Vesu, Surat, by The Concept Lab

The office next door is the new project that recently completed is a  real estate office and is made upon a total carpet area of 475 sq. Ft and consists of a reception area followed by a waiting area, 2 meeting cabins and completed by a pantry and a washroom. The client was very precise about the design is very sober yet elegant. The office turned out even better than expectations.A clean white openable panel wall has been constructed to hide the windows giving the reception a subtle look. – The Concept Lab

Read More »
"Glimpse into architecture's skilled workforce and allied industries in India during the pandemic" - AvDC

A glimpse into architecture and its allied industries in India during the pandemic – Suhasini Ayer – Guigan, AvDC

Architect Suhasini Ayer – Guigan , principal of Auroville Design Consultants, Auroville, shared insights on how the industries associated with Architecture practice were already facing a recessive market. The pandemic, hence, was not a fresh disaster to our practice, and perhaps possessed opportunities for youngsters to improve their interpersonal skills. Architect Suhasini also shares insights on how Indian manufacturing is deeply connected with global production cycles, thereby causing a chain of shutdowns to Indian work. Additionally, she also shares the significance of the shifting thought and behaviour patterns of the general Indian working population toward more efficient practices, from being disorganized and spontaneous.

Read More »

Subscribe to Architecture and Design Updates