When a tsunami hit Chile a devastated town left in its wake lost its school, local university students were able to rebuild the school within four weeks. Tabul is around 500km south west of Santiago and one of the worst areas hit by the tsunami. Finis Terrae University architecture department brought 56 of its advance students to design, equip and mount the school in the damaged town under the project name Viento Fuerte (Strong Wind).
A local company donated the 22 shipping container units needed where were insulated and designed round the concept of prefabricated building modules. 20 of the containers remained on the ground level while the last two were mounted on the first floor. An open area was formed between the containers to act as areas that can offer shade from the sun as well as rain cover for the children, with the remaining part of the existing school adjoined to the containers.
It shows how much can be done in 4 weeks and a video was put together of the project shown below :-
I have added this for interests sake to be honest as its not the most practical of shipping container buildings yet at the same time no doubt many are being used by people like the U.N. and military who can afford the extra costs involved of building a custom made container with electrical hydraulic systems.
But the other reason being is that it is possible to fabricate the two inserted container units by reducing the size of other containers although its unlikely to be stackable then again the size doesn’t match up with container dimensions either by the time you chop it down. Adding to that a cheaper method of adding holes for forklifts to pull the containers out of the main one would make it a cheaper option but also means you can still get away with one container delivery as everything fits inside the one container.
Interesting concept and would be interested to see if anyone’s developed a more simple method of doing it.
An interesting video showing how to utilize shipping containers for classrooms and homes in Haiti. The other important thing here is the strong structure of the shipping container units which if it had been used more prior to the disasters in Haiti no doubt more lives would have been saved. Many lives and houses have been lost due to poor construction and going down the shipping container route does mean for a lot of the safety of the home or school in hurricanes or earthquakes your reliance on a poor builder isn’t needed. The building itself as a shipping container had far excelled anything that the local building codes would find acceptable and a building that will be able to ride out the storm.
Hope more of these types of structures are being utilized in Haiti to help things get back to normal.
Not my first choice of colours and design for the exterior paintwork but the Conhousewas introduced to deal with high housing prices and a declining affordable living space in Trebnje, Slovenia. The worst affected and no doubt why the designs and colour schemes were directed in the way they are is towards the younger more upwardly mobile generations who are likely to be struggling to get onto the housing market.
The design is based on two containers placed on top of each other with the upper unit overhanging the entrance giving shade and a pathway area while the other side creates a patio or rear terrace. With the way the containers are positioned it also allows a small roof deck type balcony to be available on the upper floor via sliding glass doors.
The staircase has been designed in a minimalistic way which suits the design and age group of the buyers the home is aimed at. With the added floor to ceiling windows although small and compact I can see the appeal of this style of home.
Natural cooling the cheap and beautification way of cooling a shipping container home if you take a look at these photos below which are actually a medical housing centre called Salam Center located in Soba,Khartoum. Using natural materials to form partitions and a roof structure between container units you can get an idea from the photos below how much shade is being given. In the second photo you can see the partitions have created a walkway at the same time keeping the suns heat away from the container units but also allows airflow along the new partition corridor to aid in natural cooling.
This is an idea that I came across while doing an article for my other blog Tropicalhome.net I found this house which is based in India but after looking at its design more closely started to think you could replace the bottom unit easily with a shipping container or 2 x 20ft shipping container units. The design by using wood for the upper decks also allows the weight to be kept down and starts to become a great idea for a shipping container home in tropical areas as you can finish the bottom layer then add the next two layers as your budget allows and as you find materials. The other options obviously with something designed round the use of local materials is the upper decks will be cheaper and easier to source than many other materials but also the use of a lattice side and open planned roof deck means that you get a lot of natural light throughout the day as well as air flowing across the building. All in all would love to see this idea become a reality.
The cost of a shipping container varies considerably and one of the main considerations when doing shipping container homes.
When looking at building a house from shipping containers, you have two main options constructing the home yourself or by having a specialist company built it for you.
Either way you should first look at the cost of buying shipping containers because locations make a huge difference in price and if the units are in surplus or in demand. Then there is the factors such as size and condition of the container units. Generally though there is surplus in most of the West the deciding factor if its viable for you or not is no doubt going to fall into location from source and price. Searching online you will be able to locate shipping containers easily but also worth keeping an eye out in your local classified adverts or even contact some local companies that have deliveries of containers. May even pay to put an advert out for shipping containers “wanted” as it may throw you some options you wouldn’t find otherwise.
Used shipping container costs are considerably cheaper when buying second hand units over new, it costs more to send them back to China than it does to manufacture one in China and send it, which is why you can often get shipping containers at low prices. Add to this though the costs of alterations and transport and handling of the shipping containers when considering this as a home building option.
We currently operate mainly in the Philippines but are open to external sources wanting to advertise shipping containers on a database to help people locate a shipping container. As well as shipping container manufacturers are also welcome to submit information to also be added into Shipping Container Living.
For a brand new standard 40’ Shipping Container you can expect to pay $1,500 upwards in the United States. At the same time here in Cebu Philippines its around P90,000 for a 20’ and P140,000 for a 40’. Although prices vary on demand drastically due to what would be unseaworthy elsewhere are still utilized between islands.
20ft Tank Shipping Container units may not be useful for the shipping container home scenario directly but could be utilized for example as a water supply due to being able to fit straight on top of the other shipping container units. This is why the dimensions of 20ft Tank Shipping Container units have been added to the blog.
Always double check measurements due to some units being adapted for customers needs.
When I first arrived in the Philippines I looked at the concept of a shipping container for our first home as it allows modular secure construction. At that time though we were still in the economic boom period worldwide and simply it wasn’t financially viable at that time to go down the route. But here we are the world has gone into recession and the idea rears its head once more. On top of that I came across an Expat who has already setup the units (as shown i the photo) on Mactan island Cebu which I am currently arranging to go and visit since they are up for sale. It will be interesting to do some temperature tests as well as see how the conversion was done and costs involved. No doubt in the future I can see me working on the development of container housing as it just makes so much sense financially as well as the problem of property ownership in the Philippines. These containers are sited on a leased lot and available for sale either as the container units or by taking over the lease. The practical fact is got a dispute with a crazy relative or needing to move house for other reasons with this type of construction you can pick the house up and move it to a new location. I will be doing a follow up article on this once I have visited the site.
This blog came about due to looking to build our home here in the Philippines as well as looking into the viability of shipping container homes for low cost housing. Currently the low cost housing is looking more likely to go with modular kits due to the logistic issues of shipping containers and the purchase price of used containers in the Philippines. This sort of slows our projects currently down to a snails pace as we start to look for land capable of dropping container units onto as generally for the budget we have the land is very uneven and access difficult by road.
But this also gives a platform for people to send in their own projects and designs to share them with everybody else if your interested. Building the blog site as more of a community rather than a single writer is important to showing other alternatives and ideas of shipping container home developments and we want you to be part of it.