Its always interesting to see a shipping container home completed. But even more interesting is the construction and the speed that the modules drop into place. Designed by architects Claire Helene Drouin and Jean Marie Sanchez this French home had most of its cutting work done prior to dropping things in. Obviously if you have the space doing it all on the deck rather than having the issue of sheet metal at heights being cutaway makes a huge difference on construction time as well.
The DIY market on container houses is also booming, crazy to think wasn’t long ago people would think you were mad for even talking about living in a shipping container. Yet here we are today finding in some areas a shortage of shipping containers for construction projects, also mixed with reduced imports at the same time they are catching on in a big way. Even homes are starting to emerge for sale which is on the good side if you don’t actually want to go through the hassles of construction.For a DIY self added touch to your container house design your own flower arrangements.
Add to that the emergence of DIY home builders not only constructing but doing the planning phases themselves its obviously a good cost cutting exercise as well as the modular building block shipping containers make it easier for the beginner to understand. Its designed for its strength and to much higher specifications than the average home.
Bernardes Jacobsen was tasked with making the Tim Music Festival which is an annual event held in Marina da Glória, Rio de Janeiro a more sustainable and environmental event. I have worked in the exhibition industry before and the wastage at concerts and shows is astronomical so its good to see something being done in a positive light. The Tim Music Festival is an annual event which also makes sense in making it sustainable and reusable by using shipping containers. The shipping containers were utilized to give an interesting colourful display as well as a functional medium for the venue.
The cantilever house is a prototype project to be built near Granite Falls, Washington in the Cascade Mountains North East of Seattle. There is also a second prototype in development for an urban site in San Diego. These projects are part of an exploration of opportunities in prefabricated techniques and modern construction methods. Ideally to develop low cost high quality housing.
Although the building site for this prototype has quite unrestrictive zoning constraints, the challenging topography and geotechnical conditions play a strong role in defining the overall design strategy. The small ground floor building footprint/foundation reduces the cost of this expensive area of the house, and allows the points of attachment to adapt to varying slope and soil conditions.
There are two main systems for this project standardised mass produced building elements, prefabricated steel frames commonly used for inexpensive light weight commercial buildings. As well as SIPS (Structurally Insulated Panel Systems) that provide non glazed building areas. Significant savings are made by using the same low labour intensive structural panels for walls, floors and roof section.
Although the materials and methods of construction are chosen for efficiency and affordability, the underlying design principles guiding the development of the system have the larger goals of producing affordable, high quality buildings that offer variety, adaptability, convertibility, strength, simplicity, spatial richness, and optimized access to views and light.
A short video done by a student. The video shows how with a bit of imagination a container can quickly become a home but also the use of containers for a large scale accommodation block.
student shipping container accommodation block
An interesting project design using a mix of shipping containers, glass and solar panels. Combining budget with modern design.
Shipping Container Office
This video runs you through how to convert a shipping container into an office. Watching it you will see a lot of the solutions are very obvious as well as cheap on materials. The important thing to remember its also the fact people don’t think its this easy to do which puts people off. In the near future we will be looking to develop selling these type of units where you can either have one built or literally “buy” and take it with you. This week I am finally going to have enough time to run through a lot of designs I have worked out and start posting them online.
Not always relevant as you may be getting soil from a garden centre at the same time you could be out in the back of nowhere or wanting to use your own soil. Identifying your soil types and the types of plants/crops they can be used for will improve your chance of good yields. At the same time doing a bit of research also means you can adapt the soil to the purpose of the types of plants you want to grow by adding in whatever nutrients the soil could do with being added if any.
Testing soil is necessary and easy to do, doing it at the beginning also means you can adapt it quickly without plant disruption and more importantly won’t suffer with failed plants due to the wrong type of soil used for them. This is why soil testing is the first step in your container garden and you will need to know that it has the right nutrients for certain plants to flourish.
This is also a good way to monitor your soil for its nutrients, the soil will need Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium to continue providing healthy plants. Where possible take the test at the end or a few months before the growing season (plan to plant) to correct the soil problems. Also just as important the soil should be dry as false results could be given otherwise.
There are various test kits available and some are easier to use than others. I would advise checking reviews on places like Amazon to see how other people found them. Some kits are also designated to only test specific nutrients.
Now as this is a container garden and not a general household garden or field I would say try and select soil from areas that you know have good nutrients already (as obviously you don’t want to be repairing an entire field with nutrients when your only needing your container soil improved).
Grab a bucket and a shovel and head to where your looking to select your soil from. Dig around 7” deep with 6 holes and take a shovel of dirt from each hole dug. When dug mix the samples together and remove 2 cups from your test sample.
Then read the guidelines given to you by the test kit purchased.
Soil test completed you are no doubt going to have some results at the same time going to be looking at transferring your soil to containers. The problems your likely to face are below, some of them it would be easier to select soil elsewhere but pretty much everything can be dealt with.
High PH: Mix some sulpher into the soil.
Low PH: Mix some lime into the soil.
Low Nitrogen: Mix nitrogen rich fertilizers into the soil.
High Nitrogen: Water well, and avoid adding fertilizers for three to six months.
Low Phosphorus: Mix super phosphate and bone meal into gardening area.
High Phosphorus: By growing more plants will aid in absorbing extra phosphorus
Now there is also the chance of the figures being out simply because there are other layers of soil below the sample level that could have affected the results. If using the field these are relevant but as we are taking the soil away for planting they won’t be causing anymore disruption in future but will also be a reason why you monitor the soil on a regular basis to get its levels right.
As you know I am keen to get shipping container housing off the ground in the Philippines and there is only one word I can describe as causing a problem “greed”. Many of the containers here have actually got dates on them from the 1970s yet locally they are still asking the price nearer that of one just manufactured. If you take into account I had already agreed prices locally to then find that they realised what we were doing here they suddenly jumped in price by 60% without any reason except to extort extra money. Its hindered the development at the same time it has also thrown up opportunity as constructing modular sections instead of a full container will work out cheaper but also means the side walls can be adapted to exactly what is needed rather than having to work round the container walls.
What am I talking about? well if you take a traditional container the wall steel isn’t the most pleasing to the eye as well as heavy. The main doors aren’t needed in many containers yet they are the most expensive section. So if you imagine drawing a rectangle with a pencil and the lines are the exterior frame that is the module I am looking to start with. Instead of cutting and patching it will be brand new units specifically built for the task of modular homes. The way I see it is that people are wanting P140,000 for a 40ft container that was originally used in the mid 80s needing some repairs as well as cutting, insulating and developing into a home. A blank canvas module makes it a lot easier as the walling for example can be slotted in pre constructed with steel exterior, foam insulation and an interior wall in each section dropping them in one by one. Its all new and also more mobile due the weight reduction in parts needed. Won’t be stackable to the same heights as original containers due to the design. Only two modules high but for most tasks and the beach huts this is perfect. In fact a two layer beach hut with the bedroom on the top floor would make a nice addition.
Things may appear a bit quiet lately but its all good to be honest except the cause! What happened is prices got to a point where I couldn’t see it currently being viable to buy one as it strained my budget too much to the point I couldn’t complete to sell the first one to buy the second. So being practical skipped it for a few months moving to things we need for the workshop as well as the apartments I am currently constructing here in Cebu, Philippines. What is happening instead of buying an expensive container and struggling through with trying to finish it to sell on a shoestring budget I have started to put together a shopping list of tools and machinery to allow rapid conversion once we get things in full swing. At the same time I have decided to abandon selling unfinished containers simply down to the fact the sellers are greedy and if I am being ripped off I don’t want to rip you off so advise go look for yourself then I am not the one over charging.
Currently the shopping list will consist of :-
- Table saw
- Router table (Will build)
- Air compressor + tools
- Welding machine
- Cross cut wood saw (we already have one for metal)
- New drills
Not a big list but an expensive one, ideally though the tools will be offering a better finish on many parts of the internal fittings as I was a cabinet maker/carpenter previously so being able to construct some things like under drawers for chairs and other furniture allowing maximum storage space as well as other useful things for within the units. I am currently taking caravan designs onboard as they offer the maximum amount of practical use for the minimum of space. So although the site has gone a bit slow doesn’t mean I have forgotten!
When I started container gardening myself I could see the benefits for having a small space and being able to grow some of our own food. But as you look into it further its surprising where you can grow food in containers. Take for example on top of your air conditioning unit. In an old sink, or pretty much anywhere that has enough space to plant a crop and won’t cause damage to the building or equipment.
In shipping container living adapting roof and wall space for container gardens is often overlooked but something that can be easily done with extra benefits. First one is those who don’t like the look of the metal container wall start to see it disappear amongst your food crops and plants. Secondly its shade that helps reduce heat build up on your shipping container home. Add to that a hobby that is not only interesting to many but offers up a fruitful supply of various types of food on a regular basis. Container gardening has many advantages and not as difficult as it may seem to get one started.