SDPL Opinion: Here are some aesthetic, portable classroom designs that defy all trailers and their appearance as slum architecture.
by: Poros, John (1999).
Pre-Manufactured Portable Learning Environments.
Mississippi State, http://www.edi.msstate.edu
Poros starts off by stating that portable classrooms are used in Mississippi for three major reasons: to offset overcrowding due to population bubbles, to provide space for new school programs, and to contend with budget constraints.
Poros contends that an advantage of portables is that they are mobile and flexible. He suggests that this advantage can be supplemented by "designing portables that tie-in visually and functionally with fixed buildings so they behave as an extension of [the] buildings...."
The virtues of portables are extended by suggesting that their mobility allows for bringing a learning space to a community as well as bringing learners to a different learning environment other than the classroom. Poros goes so far as to suggest that portables can bring school resources, such as Internet access, into communities lacking resources.
Of course, what discussion of the advantages of portables would be complete without discussing their cost effectiveness. The idea that they are created indoors also suggests that the building process is not subjected to delays due to bad weather. However, nothing is mentioned about the longevity of the buildings and how this cost analysis would compare to buildings that are built to last up to 100 years.
Poros does concede that, while there are advantages to portables, they are usually poorly designed and thus their advantages are overshadowed by their lack of visual appeal as well as their poor construction.
Poros concludes that "if portables are conceived and built just as the lowest possible cost box to house children, then their perception will always be negative. Portables also have the perception with the public as being unsafe, especially in tornadoes, and as being energy inefficient. Portable classrooms will not have a bigger market, because they are viewed as expedient but not desirable."