WA Design set otu to create a modern energy efficient office space that would blend in with its industrial neighbourhood. The three storey building is constructed using steel frames and timber. The new offices stand our and give a refreshing modern touch to the rather dated industrial area between Emeryville and Berkeley. Although brighter than its neighbours its design slips into the location rather well. The facade clad with checkerboard pattern of green and pale blue cement boarding however makes you well aware “this is the building” If driving past. the design rather fits well with shipping container architecture even if there is a lack of shipping containers. The shape of the building and its use of steel could easily see this being a shipping container building. At the same time the industrial feel was no doubt done for that reason as well as the wood in replication of old pallets.
They have also added weathered steel to the northern wall section in keeping with the rusted artifacts located at the Berkeley waterfront. They really have done their homework in keeping with the area while still introducing modern designs and features.
The interior carries on with the feel with exposed steel beams and the use of mixed materials and finishes. Resin panels filled with seawood also allow light to travel while keeping with the seaport idea. A ceiling skylight allows heat to leave the building via the roof at the same time allowing light to pass through it. There is also a motorised sunshade to help keep the building cool throughout the day. Energy wise the use of “free” artificial lighting helps reduce electrical use at the same time tere are other energy power reduction systems used throughout the building.
French architect patrick partouche has recently completed ‘maison container lille’, a single family residence created from eight shipping containers within the countryside of lille, france. the stacked units combine to generate 208 square meters of living space. The building itself has not shyed away from its container roots but look to enhance and utilise the idea. The container doors can be opened or closed to give privacy and shade when needed.
Although the design is an interesting one I do have concerns about its internal furnishings as it seems very industrial in its usage of materials. This can lead to the home feeling rather cold and empty at the same time it no doubt matches the requests of the owners which is something that leaves the architect limited on decisions.
The side by side layout however though is a good design and the use of light via the window areas gives the shipping container home a feeling of being bigger and brighter. The home was installed within 3 days which is a bit of an achievement.
Someone posted this link to me today regarding how someone downsized their life. The fact is in the last 50 years Americans (and no doubt many other nations) now occupy more than 3 times the amount of space they did before. Add to that the rising number of “drive in storage facilities” that are cropping up as a new industry its time to stop.
Now for me its something I realised years ago as although I had a nice Victorian house and garden in the winter I froze and in the summer the long garden was impossible to maintain.
But looking at it another way the ceilings were too high and I never used the sitting room, the kitchen was used for less than an hour a day and generally as a family of 3 at that time we could have lived in a space 3 times smaller and been financially better off. The electric bill would be cheaper, cost of rent and the amount of gas consumed in the winter time.
On a social front instead of my daughter sitting in her room unsocially it would mean the family have to function together in the same space creating a much more social environment. It would also mean having one good TV instead of 3 TV sets in different rooms.
But why stop there, I used to remember my ex buying clothes for specific parties that would never see the light of day again. Wouldn’t it make more sense to hire or buy something that would be timeless and expensive to wear to more events instead?
In today’s way of thinking I am permanently de-cluttering my life as every time I look at something I wonder if I really need it. When I go back to the UK shortly I will be arriving in the UK pretty much with just the clothes on my back as a suitcase in the UK is all my possessions I need there for work. Literally while working I can live in a small bedroom. I generally eat out due to the type of work I do so no kitchen is required, I wash my clothes daily so could use a launderette if the facilities weren’t at the place I rent etc.
It does away with the general cost of living in the UK which when I assess it cost me £1,500 a month previously with the Victorian house compared to £500 a month all inclusive for my new way of life financially I am saving at £1,000 a month. With the current economic climate its going to be much more of a saving.
So does container living make sense? I think its a case of accepting the fact we have to live smaller and shipping containers give fixed dimensions you can work with. It can also teach people to limit what they waste which in turn reduces personal debt. Question is can we live without container living, as simply it redefines life and moves away from consumerism to realistic financial living.
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
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.
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 the first shipping container cafe by Starbucks but its still heading in the right direction of recycling shipping containers.
The fact is unfortunately or maybe not? Shipping containers have become fashionably green. Myself its not about being green but more to the fact it makes a lot of sense recycling containers for homes,offices and other buildings. But Peter Demaria who’s part of this project from demariadesign.com said “Due to the trade imbalance with China, millions of containers are left in our ports every year,”. I would like to add this trend is changing rather rapidly with the current recessions round the world. In reality the containers we are seeing stuck at ports may not be so readily available in the future as more goods may end up having to be manufactured at home due to the fact most industries have now gone to China. You can only export so much trade until countries wake up to the fact they need to start developing their own manufacturing and not just rely on cheap imports as it damages the economy.
Recycling the containers though takes only five per cent of the energy that melting down the steel it a beam for example. Often greens will be pushing the fact the containers shouldn’t exist in the first place but in reality they are already here! Lets deal with the surplus as the lowering imports will no doubt reduce the numbers of containers.
Back on to Starbucks new cafe, Mr Demaria has worked on other shipping container building projects already including a house in Redondo Beach, gallery and a condo building in other locations within the United States.
What we are seeing with the Starbucks container building though is a prototype being put together its unique not only in the steel container design but also that it will be drive-up and walk-up only with no space to lounge inside.
And it will be portable, he said, easy to break it down and transport somewhere else. “We see a lot of opportunities here,” he said. “We can put a store like this on a lot that will be developed someday but is free for two or three years, and then we can move it.”
Also Starbucks is looking to the fact it imports tea, coffee and other products into the United States as well as other countries and would like to see the containers not going to waste.
The relative to this and shipping containers is were are seeing severe turmoil in the shipping fleets right now as they are being forced into bankruptcy or downsizing as the global markets change and Western demand reduces. The International Transport Workers Federation said it would support taxes on bunker fuel and vessel emissions as a way to pay for air pollution reduction efforts. For me I ask what have the “taxes” we have already paid and regularly pay done so far? In the UK we have multiple taxes on cars yet no effort is made to reduce the emissions in a sensible way. If anything its only used as an excuse to get more money from tax payers. Adding another tax onto ships just adds it on to the end consumer.
The belief being that these taxes would help developing countries fight poverty and climate change. I live in one of these corrupt banana republics and the fact is aid has stalled development for decades because it blocks rebellion. The UK government for example are well aware that getting the current financial system wrong will lead to rioting and a forcing out of the current politicians. Here in the Philippines, doesn’t exist there is a constant stream of cash coming in from abroad from overseas workers, NGOs and charities to keep a false state of security and hope. Stagnant but bleeds money from the West has it fixed the problem? no its kept the same regime in power and no doubt for the benefit of private companies over that of nations.
You see when I hear about things like a “green climate” fund and all this ideal world and healing it there is no depth to it. In reality there has been no leaps in nations developments simply because the governments are corrupt and civil wars. The reality is they don’t want development unless they control it at which point Billions disappear into private bank accounts and sent overseas.
The ITF are a typical example of either living outside of reality or in fact looking to ride the gravy train of so called change. We have employed thousands of people worldwide with sorting out the climate but how many have produced anything of value? Everyone wants to tax us but nobody seems to offer a solution just a hand out for a pay cheque.
“Negotiations are at a complete standstill – despite us being in a situation where emissions are still rising, the forecasts are becoming increasingly grave, and extraordinary weather conditions are destroying jobs, homes and peoples’ lives,” said Alana Dave, ITF climate change coordinator.
There are more jobs lost due to the economic turndown and in reality these jobs have been recreated in the East due to the greed of the corporate world wanting to produce things cheaply sacrificing Western workers for Eastern. If anything corporations needed to be heavily taxed on any of their imports that “could” be made at home. Its not rocket science if something can be produced at the same quality or better in a home country it should be highlighted as the one to buy over ones transported thousands of miles. Taxing ships makes no difference to trade whatsoever but taxing the businesses that have encouraged the exodus of business could be simply by reducing the distance travelled by goods. No extra revenue needed from you or me and at the same time generates jobs locally.
I apologise for this on containerliving.net but often I feel the world has gone mad with things. I hear people talking about they’re rights in a selfish manner as if they have the right to destroy something because it benefits them. In reality the planet is changing and nobody is sure why completely, the fact is though I have lived in the UK and seen tax after tax introduced for environmental reasons yet nothing changes. The fact is I am happy to live in a “box” a shipping container home and downsize everything which even in the global crisis pretty much can show if done how it makes very little difference to ones life if everything is put in balance. The fact is Western land is overpriced in many regions causing the cycle of debt and homelessness. Changing from a consumer world to a world that can tell the differences between want and need would really change the environment we live in. Education is more important than anything else these days.
I have to admit I lost the source for these photos! Although its based in Hamburg as the 25hrs hotel giving a bit of a space station feel from aliens its also very functional and no doubt a bit of a change on the normal hotels in the area.