Dr. Dick Martinby James Brewer-Calvert
Mark Burnette, photographer
What do we do with old containers that are hard to get rid
of and dispose of? Eric Lucas introduced our
speaker Dr. Richard L. Martin, who retired from Georgia Tech
in 1999 where he taught building design and construction at
the School of Architecture for more than 24 years, is
president of Global Peace Containers, Inc. While touring South
Africa in the late 90s, Martin visited a cooking school that
was built out of shipping containers to help impoverished
people get jobs in Cape Town restaurants.
Back in Atlanta, Global Peace Containers, Inc. was formed
and the first project for the professor and his Georgia Tech
students was to build an elementary school in Cross Keys,
Jamaica. The school was built in just one month at a cost of
$10,000, using four containers in a square formation with open
space in the center. To keep the space cool, shade covers are
constructed to act as parasols. About 150 children now attend
the school. More projects have been finalized and currently
Dr. Martin is working with the government of Liberia
investigating the possible use of shipping containers for a
university expansion in the city of Monrovia.
When used for shipping and transporting goods, each
container can hold up to 59,000 pounds, and they are strong
enough to be stacked nine high. Durable and waterproof,
containers are replaced every 12-13 years. Each container's
history is verifiable thanks to tracking and record keeping.
Older and unused containers are abandoned, often in 3rd world
countries or counties, but the sustainable design and
materials means they could be put to use for schools, homes,
and community centers.
Before joining Georgia Tech in 1976, Dr. Martin taught at
Stanford University, California State Polytechnic University
and the Stanford Research Institute and currently teaches
building construction at Southern Poly Tech State University.
He holds degrees from UCLA, the Pratt Institute and the
University of Hawaii. Dr. Martin is a nephew of the African
explorer Dr. Livingstone.
In honor of our speaker, Green Homes: New Ideas for
Sustainable Living by Sergi Costa Dunn was donated to the
DeKalb Library System.