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.
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.
There are many locations throughout the world that house building from shipping containers is not only viable but financially beneficial. The main reasoning behind this is primarily for those looking to do house building themselves. The shipping container as a building block is not only robust but is built above housing code expectations for a building. They may initially seem a small building block until you start cutting and adapting them something that those with even limited skill and knowledge around the construction site would be able to manage. In reality a competent DIY person could just as easily complete house building from shipping containers as a local building contractor.
Initially the project will seem daunting but that is another advantage you have with the shipping container as its already a completed unit. Your cutting away rather than trying to work out how do I build a second floor? how do I build a roof structure? In reality your actually going to be removing sections for doorways and the awkward bits such as insulation you can even get specialists in to help you.
The concept of house building with shipping containers has grown hugely throughout the current fuel and housing crisis. Some talk about it being green but I am not green in the way where I wake up and ride a bicycle to go to work and lets face it the green movement hasn’t grown that fast since 2008! In reality people are looking to save money on construction, others are looking to be able to build a sustainable home that is also minimalistic which also means reduced bills for electric,water and gas. If anything the shipping container homes are part of a price conscience revolution over anything else.
But what about all the negative stuff out there about shipping container homes? Look at them and how many are opinion only? to be honest I haven’t come across anyone so far that says its a bad idea that has even visited a shipping container home never mind constructed or lived in one. Everyone I know with a shipping container home loves them and on top of the reasons above you have the added benefit of being able to build modular and as your budget allows. How many other houses can be constructed that way?
If its not catching on with some people its probably more likely they lack the vision or the desire to own one rather than even looking at the benefits. For me it has one huge benefit at least 40% cheaper than conventional construction. Don’t know what that means to you but in the UK that’s 10 years of slave mortgage payments I will never make.
Another fine example of taking what seems to be a stack of containers into a luxury home. As you can see in the photo there is no fancy shapes or designs in the structure but actually doing what containers do and stacking them. A few of the container sides have been removed to open up the rooms.
As the roof is added the home starts to take shape an added bonus to the shipping container structure is that the extra strength in recycling the containers actually makes the roof structure strong enough to add a green roof.
In the third photo you can really see the home start to look like a luxury house at this stage its a case of adding insulation cover and/or over cladding www.sgblocks.com who design these homes say that for energy efficency adding the appropriate coatings you can see a reflection rate of around 95% on exterior radiation as well as a strong resistance to lose interior heat/cooling. On top of that a great infiltration barrier against water.
One thing for sure with the world recession in play many people have woken up to the practical uses of using shipping containers as homes.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: Seen its first partnership school construction project with shipping containers as a joint venture between Digicel and USAID.
École Louis de Borno in Léogâne the town located at the epicentre when an earthquake hit will be utilizing the new school for 600 primary school students.
Part of this project involved utilizing local youth between the ages of 15 – 24 which don’t have vocational training and from a non-formal education to assist in the construction.
There is also 100 people being employed at a pre-fabrication plant to assist with the projects as the project is looking to construct 50 such schools to educate upto 30,000 children per a 2 shift schooling system.
The construction of the school unit is simple as its only 2 x 20ft containers with an additional ventilated roof structure. Simple but functional as well as a cheap hardy option.
The USAID partnership procured 100 containers for the shipping container school projects in Haiti and is part of the joint task force in Haiti’s humanitarian aid mission, in response to the earthquake.
This video is a bit different to the rest simply because its taking on some of Japan’s traditional ideas for open space. The roof structure is also a bit different to everything else as it appears to have a complete set of scaffold poles that have carried a porch like space right over the container in all directions. Maximises space but not sure of its practicalities but only time would tell. Here in Cebu we get heavy rain in the Wet season so a separated roof would actually have some benefits on noise reduction at the same time I would have to look at its justification on costs as well as how it would fair in heavy winds.
The bathroom layout is fairly practical on this one and appears smaller than others I have seen as its gone for the 8ft width with a long bathroom (entrance from external) instead of the other way round which most people seem to do. The hollow block walls that seem to make up the dividers seem a bit overkill for me though its finish would look very clean.
Japanese shipping container home