Old trains have been converted into anything from homes, art galleries and even amusement parks. As part of a recovery program to rehabilitate a failed railway, Ecuadorian design firm Al Borde transformed a tired, old train into a mobile cultural center, which they call "Wagon of Knowledge" (Vagon del Saber). This project was chosen by the ministry of culture and heritage to make stops along remote communities, serving as a public space for meetings, theatre shows, training programs and celebrations.
Seen over at Designboom, the train line carrying the renovated Boxcar 1513 is starting up again after a long, twelve-year absence, with a new cultural mission to spread knowledge and enhance local economies, says Al Borde:
The train was renovated to achieve the greatest number of uses with the minimum number of elements. A public square and theater with a capacity of 60-80 people, as well as work spaces for 20 users were incorporated by attaching three extensions to the car: a roof with several deployment options, retractable furniture and two storage spaces – simple systems operated by the cultural promoters turn the cart into their desired requirements. Set [to] travel around the coast, the cultural unit will begin to accumulate and facilitate new stories.
Intended to move from place to place without a strict set of parameters to define its use, it becomes something flexible that adapts to the needs of the moment, so that it "carries neither freight nor tourists, but culture and public space." As we can see here, there are a lot of possibilities, thanks to various interchangeable components that can allow the train to shift from conference space to a performance venue in a snap.
It's a creative way to give new life to a historically important train that was once even derailed, and to ensure that it can keep on serving the public. Not only that, people don't have to go to this public space; it will travel to come to them. More over at Al Borde.