Imagine that self-storage facilities are more than repositories for (temporarily) unused objects!
Imagine that self-storage facilities are filled with stories about today’s ways of living!
Imagine that self-storage facilities become test grounds for the construction of identities!
Various disciplines study self-storage industry. While social science is interested in scarcity, urban economics examines demand. In architectural and urban design discourses, self-storage facilities are treated in cursory manner. The underlying economic calculations do not leave much space for spatial or material dramaturgy, the appearance is determined by façade-marketing and, from an urban point of view, they are mostly acontextual.
Much is said about their (nonexistent) extensive qualities. But one might ask if self-storage facilities, with their countless piles of stored objects, have the potential to become urban sites. By connecting the social practice of storing with complementary activities (museum, theater, workshop …), self-storage facilities seem to develop intensive qualities that could enrich the urban dynamics of tomorrow. They may develop into a new type of urban-storage facility that broadens our understanding of contemporary modes of cultural and economic production.
Photo credit: Wolfgang Thaler http://www.wolfgangthaler.at