Workers in Manila as other parts of the Philippines struggle to get low budget high quality rentals. This shipping container dormitory does seem to have the answer for cheap construction but also a better class of living for those with a small budget. Air conditioning and a bed as well as onsite restaurant for P1,500 a month is extremely reasonable and no doubt a big hit. A lot of cheap accommodation in the Philippines normally consists of a rundown room with no air conditioning or cooling system as well as possibly just access to a single bulb light. This on the other hand seems very geared to peoples needs and no doubt has a lot of extra services downstairs besides the kitchen such as charging stations for mobile phones. All in all I think its a huge step forward in quality for workers in the Philippines and look forward to seeing more of these types of building.
The second set of photos are from the same place but a different building. As you can see they have traded the bunk bed dorms for more private cubicle styled beds. Not for everyone but if your on a tight budget with a limited salary I know more than a few Filipinos that would happily live in these compared to their current rentals. From a business point of view though is it viable? Counting all the beds up your looking at 98 just for the upper level and as you can see in the yellow one being constructed its beds lower side as well so roughly 200 beds at P1,500 per month giving an income of P300,000 per month even if you took out all the expenses because obviously the snack bar and other things on site increase the revenue I would easily expect to make P250,000 a month from this venture in the right location and obviously someone else seen the same vision.
Still a bit of a rant with me simply because the size of a shipping container home makes a lot of sense and many units are a lot smaller that people reside in round the world. Maybe people complaining should look at the home they are living in and ask do they need all that internal space? do they utilize it? Would they have been better with a smaller house and bigger open spaces outside?
Because I have lived both lives and to be honest I prefer the minimal living to the cluttered life of consumerism. I still have my gadgets, I still have a double bed and plenty of clothes but what I don’t have is stuff I don’t use and don’t need.
This is our bedroom currently as you can see its got a bunk bed for our two kids plus our double bed. Out of shot is a chest of drawers,bookshelf, wardrobe but the size of the room is actually smaller than a 20ft shipping container, our kids are 3 and coming up 1 so they are still young at the same time we are only running one light at night and one air conditioning unit, not one of each in Ewe’s room, Zoei’s room and our room. Our energy costs are 1/3rd of what they would be in a western styled home. Next door we have a room that is around the same size with a bathroom attached to the exterior. That is used for a day room with kitchen, dining and TV facilities. Are we struggling? Are we crammed in like sardines? Answer is no we have plenty of outdoor space and generally I will work in my office during the day (the bedroom has my desktop PC, Laptop and desk as well). All these things give us a space to live in without costing too much in space or energy. Its not a shipping container home but its pretty much built in similar dimensions due to the shape of the bit of land that was available for it.
I think its peoples perspectives that need to change as Filipino’s here generally live in smaller homes, Japan is similar in fact most of Asia. So who’s right and who’s wrong?
A debate sprung up regarding the usage of containers as jail cells as New Zealand is looking to use its inmates to build them. Primarily because part of breaking the cycle of crime is gaining skills and self worth. Teaching the prisoners how to construct will also give them a level of satisfaction. You can read more about it here.
Now I want to continue with the jail concept for another reason though as I spent some time in Brixton Prison in the UK. Nope not as an inmate! but there doing an evaluation on the structure and infrastructure of the buildings. There has been major problems there due to a high suicide rate and living conditions being very poor. The main reasons for the problems within the prison walls is firstly some of the buildings are 200 years old and on top of that the capacity of prisoners is doubled compared to its original capacity. This normally means a single toilet and cell shared between 2 – 3 prisoners which if you imagine a bunk bed with a toilet pan next to it besides that you have less than 1 1/2mtrs of space left to move around.
Shipping containers could offer a cheap solution in the UK as well as many other countries as well as being cost affective in the long run as there isn’t a lot to repair or replace in a steel building.