Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shipping container homes

This bit of creative awesomeness comes courtesy of my man Killagroove: turning expired shipping containers into housing projects. It's resourceful, it's creative, and it's actually pretty attractive stuff, considering the source material. Pretty cool. Let's call it "recession chic".
The first U.S. multi-family condo built of used shipping containers is slated to break ground in Detroit early next year. 
Strong, durable and portable, shipping containers stack easily and link together like Legos. About 25 million of these 20-by-40 feet multicolored boxes move through U.S. container ports a year, hauling children’s toys, flat-screen TVs, computers, car parts, sneakers and sweaters. 
But so much travel takes its toll, and eventually the containers wear out and are retired. That’s when architects and designers, especially those with a “green” bent, step in to turn these cast-off boxes into student housing in Amsterdam, artists’ studios, emergency shelters, health clinics, office buildings. 
Despite an oft-reported glut of unused cargo containers lying idle around U.S. ports and ship yards – estimates have ranged from 700,000 to 2 million – the Intermodal Steel Building Units and Container Homes Association puts the number closer to 12,000, including what’s sold on Craigslist and eBay. 
Joel Egan, co-founder of HyBrid Architecture in Seattle, which has built cottages and office buildings from shipping containers for close to a decade and coined the term “cargotecture” to describe this method of construction, warns that although containers can be bought for as little as $2,500, they shouldn’t be seen as a low-cost housing solution. 
“Ninety-five percent of the cost still remains,” he says.
Cost-effective or not, it's definitely a novel way of re-using our scarce resources, and there's definitely value in that. Here's a quick look at some of the projects, all of which I've captioned.

Rosa Parks; Detroit, MI
The Box Office; Providence, RI
Aprisa Mexican Cuisine; Portland, OR
The Shipping Container House; Nederland, CO
[ABC News]


  1. I loved your article. Currently in this field and a lot of this is true especially the cost saving part :-)

  2. Awesome article on shipping containers.

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  3. So aside from homes, it's great to see that those simple containers could also be made to shops and commercial establishments!

  4. Is it possible to do this in hong kong?


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