Vancouver Marina is the home of todays floating house, owned by Doug McClelland and Anthony Tucker they decided to position they’re newly constructed boat house alongside some amazing yachts and boats of the rich and famous. The new home stands out as the most modern and newest of additions to the marina but also taking on extra windows for natural light and its sleek modern design makes it hard not to ignore especially with its panoramic views from the roof deck seating area.
The exterior of the house although modern still takes on a nortical nature due to its cedar wood panelling with clear coat finish which contrasts against the the corrugated steel which was an addition to pay hommage to the old boat sheds that once existed along the old Coal harbour marina. Although a shiny mirror type finish was used instead of the dull grey finish normally associated with the old boat sheds. The house is sited on a 8ft deep concrete floatation that is filled with styrofoam. "It was pretty tricky for the engineers and the architects to fit everything we wanted and needed into a 20′ x 45′ footprint, while still keeping the house stable and floating levelly," McClelland says.
Although a little limited in space the use of natural light as well as natural colours in the home gives it a feeling of being much larger than it is. All spaces have been maximised which gives it a homely feel.
The Dining area seated next to the sliding doors means that when entertaining guests or choosing to eat out on the terrace is always an option to relax or entertain within easy reach of the kitchen.
The kitchen is spacious and well laid out utilizing a JennAir down-draft fan behind the cooker top has allowed the saving of space compared to a normal full cooker hood."We really wanted the cooktop in front of the window, but we didn’t want to have a conventional fan hanging over it," says McClelland. The down-draft fan rises out of the counter and outputs exhaust below the counter.
Making the kitchen feel light, airy and clean the use of white granite worktops, glass subway tile splash backs and IKEA light maple cabinets keep the kitchen in keeping with the rest of the home while giving a real sense of space. Going for an extra tall refrigerator from Blomberg means you get more space utilized due to limited width in the house boat home. The lighting system from Robinson Lighting also finishes the kitchen off as it reflects off the worktops and brightens up the kitchen.
The entire home has been thought out thoroughly and its dimensions aren’t far off a shipping container home at 20′ x 45′ and does show how a bit of thought on the design aspects before you start as well as sourcing the right materials can make all the difference on the finished product. A beautiful home that is fully functional on a small footprint.
I enjoy this video as its a short clip showing the basic stacked shipping containers shortly before they start coating them on the exterior and interior to the finished building where it become difficult to even identify they were constructed from shipping containers. Bearing in mind 80% of the extension is built using recycled materials does show more public and government buildings can go through the same process if they tried. On top of this no doubt cost wise it was a lot cheaper on labour and material costs. Also an important thing here is that its not a school for Africa for a change but Orange County in the United States at the Waldorfschool.com
There has been a lot of shipping container house plans and ideas hitting the web and to be honest the majority of them are simply not practical. The design of a shipping container is for interlocking into other containers but often you will find architects and design enthusiastic letting their minds run wild without thinking of the practical uses of the shipping container and if the house plans will actually be usable.
Twisting out the side of the container such as the 3D image above is typical where the modular form of the shipping container is stepped away from and instead a second section added in a strange shape. Not only is this difficult to join onto the existing container its also likely to suffer with problems with the roof structure including leaks as you will have to alter the original design to make it work. As well as the issue of weight and the welds all hanging in mid air.
Adding to this is this shipping container house plan in sketch form. Although obviously an idea the staircase costs and issues of development of the shipping container building with its crane simply don’t make any sense.
Ideally when looking for shipping container house plans they should be based on interlocking containers into each other in the way containers were designed. Or on spans using the containers as exterior walls as this is also practical. Generally if it seems more hassle than its worth it probably is and likely to be more expensive than you need to be investing. Architects do have a habit of going overboard as chasing a prestigious award that brings them in more business can often be on their mind more than giving you a practical and functional home.
I have already heard of some people struggling to get hold of shipping containers due to demand at the same time I do believe its more of a regional problem as freight containers end up more in ports than obscure areas of a country. Fact is the governments may be telling us its all a glitch, a recession, something that will just go away but in reality we have been importing way more than the economies of Western countries can afford to pay for. On top of this when I look round I see most of the stuff is things we don’t even need. So is it a bad thing if all this stuff travelling half way round the world reduces and you don’t get this years replica shirt of your favourite sports personality? I don’t think so as simply consumerism is a beast that has almost brought the West to its knees about time freight being imported was re-evaluated and even tighter embargo’s being put into place to help reduce debt.
Freight into homes is still not a problem even with the rise of people picking up on the shipping container living simply because there are millions of containers sat in ports all over the place. A reduce in freight tied with the recession means that shipping containers are just as likely to stay in ports if not more as quantities of goods reduce. I am sure even if container living when mass production in recycling containers we still wouldn’t get through the excess stock over a 10 year period. So those thinking its a fad and that shipping container prices may get out of control due to demand, I would just say its not going to happen. If anything rethinks of shipping containers is going to happen and redesigns such as foldable containers are going to be more and more on the market if the container business stayed the way it is. On the other hand with huge drops in exchange rates in the last few years its more likely we are going to see more containers on return journeys and a balance of trade starting to develop, Time will tell.
Ok not exactly a tent and it isn’t exactly camping but this is why they call it glamping a mix of luxury living with the essence of camping. The shipping container configuration though is one I like extremely as the L shape offers up a bit of privacy while being in an open space. Ideally suited to a weekend retreat rather than home living unless your prepared for a minimalist lifestyle but one of the best ways to maximise two 20ft shipping containers I have seen.
Alterra offers rooms in refurbished shipping containers in the woods of Pinamar, an upscale beach resort 350 kilometers south-east from Buenos Aires. Due to its nature and design its more inline with a hotel or hostel than any campsite you will come across but I suppose that’s the idea. The wealthy can afford to pay for a bit more at the same time still want to be in touch with nature and relax without being in a large scale hotel full of other people.
The design was done by local architect Clorindo Testa which is housed on a 32,000sqft lot which also includes an art gallery. The mix of traditional construction home and adjoining shipping containers at the main house is also an interesting blend as it does show how easily the shipping containers can become part of a home.
The containers are also recycled and use energy efficient lighting as well as appliances. No trees were removed either the containers were placed around them which is also another good thing. If your thinking glamping at Alterra is for you be aware that the starting price of a container is $250 per night.
As I look at housing and the way its gone in the last 60 years there has been huge changes from the original prefabricated manufactured homes that were generally concrete built and primarily to house people after the bombings of WW2. Originally designed to be replaced at some point these manufactured homes have only recently started to see their demise and replacement of brick built skins going up the exterior before the removal of the concrete. They were never supposed to be up this long yet even now its still not difficult to find these types of homes in the UK and obviously partly to blame for the term “concrete jungle”. The 60s seen the rise of concrete being used for everything and the housing developments that were supposed to be the cities of the future ended up landing flat on their faces due to high crime, bad planning and poor construction.
Many lessons were learned then and even today things are still evolving, manufactured homes however are part of the housing market that probably can adapt faster than any other housing market as well as offering up and implementing many green solutions as they go. The big argument then is on the fuel usage to move the homes yet they have to be built somewhere and in a factory type condition where they are built in mass production wastage is minimised, labour maximised and new technologies easy to implement. One thing for sure is that its a market that is geared towards the customer to deliver what the customer needs which is another driving force in not only making the houses ultra modern but also extremely green in materials.
Manufactured homes are without a doubt one of the industries that can have a more positive impact on the housing market at the same time help others to improve their services as well. The cost reductions involved with pre-manufactured homes also allows labour savings which can be utilized somewhere else in the home such as adding solar panels or other technologies the house may have not thought of or couldn’t afford otherwise.
When you go through shipping container homes you will find a trend in the majority of them that they are recycling and trying not to mess around with the area they are housed in, But is this enough?
Earlier looking at the shipping container house in Maui it hit me how they had added to the area by shading the building at the same time hiding it. What this also means is they had actually brought new plant life to the area as well as the new home.
Which gets me onto the subject of are we thinking enough “out of the box?” as obviously planning permissions and permits are often a headache but wouldn’t being over green actually hide the house and enhance the area making it harder for them to say no?
We are in the middle of a so called green revolution of some description, disappointedly it seems more of a middle class fad of fashion in the UK rather than actually trying to do our bit. Driving 20mins to offload the empty bottles at a bottle bank isn’t exactly helping the environment. In many cases the recycling isn’t even viable or green its more a case of “look we are trying something so give us a pat on the back”.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t have home knitted jumpers with a Greenpeace badge or smoke roll ups. I’m a realist not a green activist. For me its more about downsizing and being less of a consumer than bottle banks and paper recycling. Container homes are a step in the right direction but also have to think we could be doing more for the areas around our new container homes.
An interesting design of home but also using trees for helping shade the home seems to enhance the building as well. Having the central area as a passage between the two containers also assists with natural cooling. A pretty good design for the tropics.
A sign of changes in Tanzania as it takes on the internet highway with its internet cafes. The interesting thing about this building though is the quantity of computers as here in the Philippines its common to find even hundreds of PCs in an internet cafe if its in a major location. But the Vodacom stations in Tanzania house between 3 and 5 computer stations. Not knocking it as it shows things are improving but also the fact that market demand is still limited. But no doubt in the future it will expand in the same way the Philippines embraced the web.
Although the idea seems simple the thoughts are far reaching, The educational points in different parts of the city are part of the Proa foundation in La Boca neighborhood, Buenos Aires. Developed by arcihtecture studio a77 utilizing a shipping container and recycled materials to make furniture.
"The Nomad Cultural Center is a project of urban pedagogy whose goal is to generate bonds with the community and to find in it a fertile ground for learning, with active participation channels through experimentation, workshops, laboratories and other actions alike," say the organizers of the space.
The project follows a77’s study of transitory habitable spaces, and its modular nature allows it to be adapted to different spaces and situations in the city.
The first place it seen its use was La Boca a neighbourhood that not only is a tourist trap but also houses one of the worst polluted rivers on the planet the Matanza Riachuelo. The free activities teach about sustainability and people were asked to think of all the fish and birds that used to exist in the area which are now gone, adding to this to think of other cities and how they will become in the future. Environmental awareness for the next generations.