Shipping Container Home–Gainesville,Fla in the U.S.

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A Gainesville, Fla., man explains the benefits of owning a home made of old shipping containers. WTLV’s Heather Crawford reports.

Viability of shipping container homes is contested on a regular basis yet we are finding more and more examples of people who have already made the leap into container living. The fact is the negativities people come up with for not living in a container are always sorted out before people who actually “live” in a container home even move in.

Even the look of a home that is seen as ugly by some will find others see it as an industrial look that breaks up the look of the area. In reality a shipping container home because they are primarily built by the people who live in them they aren’t like normal homes. I think there is more thought going into them as profit isn’t the key to the home but environmentally friendly, cost affective and functional. As you can see in the video the guy is more than happy with his shipping container home to the point he has nothing negative to say about living in one.

With house prices still struggling in the recession moving away from borrowing and into cash buying a lot then buying in sections seems more viable for many.

Minimalist or container living is just a joke and fantasy.

Minimalist living or container living can often be shunned due to people not understanding the concept but what is there to understand?

  • Fact is most households have at least 2/3rds more stuff in them than they did over a decade ago.
  • Fact is that costs are going up on not only space but on resources needed to use them such as heating and cooling.
  • Fact is house prices have been spiraling out of control for some time and even right now when people are complaining their houses have “lost value” they are often still way overpriced!
  • Fact is socially people are spending too much time in the home and not enough time amongst real people.
  • Fact is we are in a social decline but it doesn’t have to be that way!

Odd thing is not everything has to be negative. I live out in the Philippines and a friend of mine lived in a very small house after meeting his girlfriend and deciding to partner up. Its 2 rooms for him,her and the children from her previous marriage. The first room is the sitting room,dining room, kitchen and the other room is the bedroom. He lays in bed and can touch 3 of the 4 walls while lay in bed. Showering and general chores are done in a centralised pump area. Is this minimalist living that is impossible?

In reality this is the life for the majority of Filipinos and has been like it as far as people can remember. But its not all doom and gloom as they probably spend a lot more time outdoors than you do. The tropical climate in previous times and in remote areas will find people sleeping under trees relaxing. No issues of getting cold, maybe getting hot. The land was plentiful where people just took from the land what they needed.

In reality I would say judging by what I hear from people that those times were happy times. Going round to the neighbours because its the only house in the village with a TV or even today on some of the remote islands the town hall.

Electricity is something people can and do often live without. The irony here compared to the Western world is that “minimalist” living isn’t a fad but the way of life and has been for centuries. I have never heard anyone complain about space and generally you will find people live together as a family until married. Its not uncommon to find adult children still living with their parents in fact its the norm. Minimalist living is probably done by the majority of people on the planet without the “vocal” minority even realising.

Could you live in a bamboo hut on a tropical island? Because many in the West dream of it yet its a reality in the tropics that people often leave for western ways. Things have begun to change in the Philippines to become more like the West and places like Hong Kong. Not all good news with an over population issue in the cities but at the same time people are still living minimal.

Bedspacers are common which involve renting a room with a bunk bed often with 4 people to a room. Workers, transients and students often live in this type of accommodation.

Odd reading this I wonder how many people are saying “I couldn’t live like that”. But my question is how big does a shipping container feel now?

 

Shipping Container Dream Home.

With a budget of $150,000, Marti Montgomery used shipping containers to build a home on the land she’s dreamed of living on for decades. They had purchased the land during the 70s when it was much cheaper but now looking to take it from lot to a home. Another wonderful example of a shipping container turned into a home.

What do you think about the home is it suited to your lifestyle? Would you live in a shipping container home?

Container Homes Hit Vancouver!

container house,vancouver,shipping container housing,shipping container,home

We have had a few container homes in Canada but this is definitely the most recent. 12 Containers are being utilised to form social housing for women in the downtown Eastside of the city.

The project is looking to complete by April 2013 and is the brainchild of the Atira Women’s Resource society, which bought a lot in 2009 to build traditional housing.

The idea was put forward by the society to BC Hydro who were giving away two containers to a non-profit organisation. Which eventually seen a further two containers donated by Atira with the remainder being purchased from the Port of Vancouver.

The design has been modelled on existing shipping container homes in the Netherlands and Europe. Which to me makes sense as you learn from other peoples mistakes and experiences.

The residents will be women over the age of 55 who currently reside in a shelter.

“What we hope is to set up an intergenerational program,” Abbott said. “We have housing for young women next door and we’d like to set up mentoring relationships between them.”

The accommodation will see the older women paying $375 a month rent while younger tenants will be charged 30% of the market value to help pay the $500,000 mortgage on the project.

The containers which give a floor area of 320sqft are going to be stacked 3 high and offer private bathroom, kitchen and in-suite laundry to the tenants. Window coverings from floor to ceiling offer up a lot of light on the ends of the unit with an external staircase linking each unit.

There will be an open house on completion before the properties become occupied with an estimated $100,000 per unit in construction and material costs.

“While getting them here and getting them stacked is extremely satisfying and exciting, what I’m really looking forward to is handing over the keys to the women who will live there,” Abbott said from the site where the containers were being unloaded Friday.

On a green note if the containers hadn’t become housing they would have very likely been shipped back to Asia and eventually melted down as scrap. That’s if they didn’t sit at some port rusting away.

Shipping container houses are still a bit of a Taboo subject when people talk and think about housing but good to see the market is changing. Not only for recycling but also container housing often means downsizing the excess that people often live with. So whatever way you look at it container housing offers some valuable and environmental lessons for sustainable living.

Oman And Shipping Container Buildings.

My three months in Oman on contract has been an interesting time as I have travelled large parts of the country. From Muscat to 1000km away into the desert with many places in between.

A bit of time in the oil fields I can see there is a market for container buildings and not just in accommodation and offices. One of the biggest problems I faced was related to health and making sure I got enough daily fruit and vegetables.

It got me thinking about the issues relating to large scale camps and improving diet. How many lost work days are caused by a weak immune system or other diet issues?

This is where I think trying to promote shipping container gardening would work well. For other areas maybe electricity is an issue as the energy used could be expensive. But in reality there is excess power due to by products from oil removal actually being used to run turbines so power isn’t a problem at all. Transportation is for getting goods to the remote locations and so is it generally in Oman as its a fairly dry hot country.

Shipping container food production however could actually give great rewards by reducing the amount of sick days people are likely to have but also improve peoples health and wellbeing. Will be pushing the idea forward as part of my recommendations before I leave the country for the Philippines.

Also there are issues of subsidence relating to the fact many structures are quite literally built on sand. Modular or container construction could also be a way round many of these issues as they are more robust but just as important can be moved when needed.

Work camps work well here and impressed with the rapid setup of structures. Setting a steel frame structure up then over cladding gives a clean living space which is also very strong and functional. Will drop some photos later as I need to get the camera from one of my work colleagues.

“Eco-Pak” shipping container home design.

shipping container home with steel beam framing

The original prototype Eco-Pak house constructed in Turkey throws up some interesting ideas about shipping container home design due to not only making the shipping container part of the home. But also the fact that you can utilise the shipping container to transport a lot of the equipment and materials required for the build. Looking at the steel frame work design it does appear that it can all fit inside the container. For the first fix it could allow the starting on the project as soon as the container arrives with a secure storage area.

The “Eco-Pak” development was the brainchild of an aircraft structural engineer James Green of Building Container LLC. The system has a U.S. patent with international patents pending, James teamed up with Seattle-based architect Matthew Coates to develop the system. Its primary goals were to make a building that was low cost, structurally sound as well as transportable without the need of a concrete base.

shipping container home with steel beam framing

shipping container home with steel beam framing

The flexibility of the steel design allows for many variables and all delivered via the shipping container unit that comes with the building. A prototype version will be put together in 2013 by Coates Design in the Seattle area.

Source: Coates Design, Building Container

Shipping Container Student Accommodation in Amsterdam.

One of the most interesting shipping container home projects has been the colourful container homes in Amsterdam utilised for student accommodation.

Photo: Student Rose Mandungu stands in front of a colorful apartment complex made from shipping containers in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

We have talked about these before and its good to see the buildings are still causing a bit of media interest. Not only because of being a cheap solution to housing for students but also can just as easily be a solution for couples or single people in need of housing generally. The current housing crisis hasn’t drastically affected homes in Europe as many people tied with the economic downturn generally can’t afford a rung on the housing ladder even with reduced prices. Shipping container homes could actually fill some of that gap but even if not shipping containers the fact is smaller homes make sense on many levels.

Photo: A student relaxes in a shipping container house in Amsterdam.

As you can see above the home is fully functional and provides the daily needs of students. Below the space can be utilised for a workspace. Whatever way you look at it thinking smaller makes people think of how to get the most out of the space they have. Also the fact they reduce their costs on things like electric and heating.

Photo: A student sews in her shipping container home in Amsterdam. Photo: Apartment building in Amsterdam made of stacked shipping containers, each with its own balcony

Photograph by Paul O’Driscoll, Bloomberg/Getty Images

They may seem a little bland from the outside but I also think people living in these types of environments geared towards a specific age group and type of people may actually develop better social development. Having community areas and small restaurants etc. could also feed into the idea. I know when I am city living I just need a roof over my head and a space to relax in the evenings. Having something like this would be perfect as generally I eat out and wouldn’t even need any cooking facilities.

Shipping Container Homes For The Poor, A Good Idea?

There have been problems with not only shipping container homes for the poor but other housing developments and its mainly down to one thing.

People make decisions for others based on assumptions, they haven’t integrated with the communities they are trying to help to assess not only the daily needs but also if the project is viable.

Bamboo homes on stilts offer natural ambient temperature to the home due to the airflow as well as the ground beneath the home heats up during the day and at night that heat rises to keep the home warm. The space beneath the home sees air travel and for tropical climates its been a naturally good home for centuries. How do you adapt a shipping container home to supply the needs of people who will not be able to afford air conditioning or electric?

Also remembering people are used to the outdoors and opening the home to the elements is also essential in maintaining that natural environment that people come from. Doesn’t need to all be “in house” but communal areas that allow people to congregate and meet up are essential in maintaining the normal community.

But what else about cooling? You need to take on ideas from existing architects as the information is already there. It may not be developed for shipping container homes but a lot of it can be. Researching Indian, Thai and African home designs with “natural cooling” will give you plenty of ideas. E.g. mud huts due to the natural properties offer a great cheap home construction method yet is it out of place or too old to be used? I would look at modern mud home design as I believe you will be pleasantly surprised.

Water can offer a natural cooling affect in homes as well and has been utilised in India for a long time in areas such as central pool areas in courtyards. Learning how air and water can work together and developing courtyard communal areas there are ways to get cooler air to move round housing developments. Some of these ideas will be a bit hit and miss initially but long term learning how to use them saves not only money but also needs. E.g. naturally cooling means no need for fans or air conditioning, which also means a reduced need for electricity.

There are solutions to every problem but I have seen many a project messed up and not because shipping container homes or in fact large scale brick and mortar homes are wrong. But simply the planning and designs haven’t been thought through properly on immediate and long-term needs of the community. Yes we all want to help but if it makes peoples lives harder it defeats the object of what we are doing.

Sliced Steel Silo Turned Into A home.

 

silo green home conversion

When I look at grain silo’s and then seeing these images its not hard to look at them in a completely different way than before. Taking a tall cylindrical building you can either utilize it on multiple levels or slice it up into ground level units.

silo home farm exterior

Elevated solar panels provide shade and power at the same time adding different shapes to the home design.

silo kitchen living room

Each cylinder has been utilised as a specific room and its not hard to see how amazing the place looks and more importantly how you could do a similar project and get some fantastic affects.

silo wood patio deck

The Cornell students on this project were using it as part of the Solar Decathlon utilising both architectural and interior design teams to maximise the home design.

silo solar decathlon house

Amazing design developing the new with the old can’t see any downside.

silo home construction plan

Well maybe one downside, this isn’t a real recycling project but a custom made cylinder prototype of what you could do with a real silo.

silo home architect drawing

Whatever way you look at it is doable at the same time I do have concerns on cutting a silo into sections as this could affect the basic structure especially in the central area. At the same time could be dismantled and reassembled.

Grain Silo–Converted Into Home

Grain Silo’s are often left abandoned after the demise of a farm or the farm itself changes the way it works. But why destroy them why not create a beautiful contemporary home from one?

recycled-silo-house-design

Out in the Midwest of the U.S. you will find this contemporary designed home but what is rather unique is the use of two silo’s to create the home. Does show how you can create a silo house and it doesn’t look odd. If anything it seems to give the thought of “what a good idea”.

recycled-silo-home-interior-design

Although designed for a single man to live in its also got space for guests and family visiting. The natural design of the silo also means that there is not only great views throughout the home but also a lot of natural light is able to travel through.

recycled-round-silo-house-design

The downside being that everything has to be custom made and as a carpenter myself I wouldn’t have any issue in building the home but I know if your not into DIY this could be rather expensive for some.

recycled-circular-home-interior

The metal interior of the silo adds a bit of interest to the kitchen area with its original metal work exposed. Adds a bit of a sheen to the kitchen.

recycled-futuristic-silo-home-design

How many kids would love a rounded bed like these? Not only that it does give a bit of a quiet space for reading or taking a time out.

recycled-grain-silo-home-design

Great home and a great idea, I am sure its got some others thinking “where are the nearest silo’s?”