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.
Shipping container homes seem to be becoming not only for the DIY and emergency housing market but also as a trendy green choice.
The shipping container home that has appeared in the Hamptons is a symbol of what you can do with a shipping container home even if your moving away from being green and looking to be a bit more upmarket.
Meet Beach Box, its a shipping container home in the dunes of Amagansett, New York, off Montauk Highway. The home isn’t so striking externally but internally its a completely different thing. The idea was developed by Andrew Anderson with six container units from New York-based SG Blocks.
What may seem a little strange is that the SG Blocks containers on the upper level house the kitchen whilst downstairs there are four bedrooms. The upper though has been utilised as open plan allowing for the sea breeze and light to carry through the home. A large kitchen, sitter and dining room upstairs gives a feeling of space due to the layout. With an exterior roof deck gives somewhere to unwind in the evenings enjoying the scenery.
2000 square feet of home with 1,300 square feet of exterior deck space this isn’t a cramped shipping container home.
To help with cooling and the look of the home the exterior has been cladded with fiber-cement and the windows are all low-E glazing to make them energy efficient.
This won’t be a cheap beach home though by the way your looking at an asking price of $1,395,000 and with more lots already purchased by the developer there are more shipping container projects likely to be appearing in the Hamptons with asking prices of over $4million.
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.
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.
The whole concept of shipping container houses are people get it and understand the idea and concept wanting to put it into practice and show how its done.
But why not live in a shipping container? First thing is you listen to other people and how being different is a bad thing. The same people advising you in what to do are mortgaged up to the hilt and generally like to have trending items that are the latest gadget, car or any other thing that costs more than they can afford.
Shipping containers make sense for people with a budget and a vision consumer speculation doesn’t fit into that and its why maybe its not for you. Swapping your budget for a new iPad for a sink or maybe the foundations of a shipping container home? Doesn’t sound so good but then again maybe can get both with a credit card? But for many of the container community they are trying to get away from any kind of debt as they are well aware of how banks and other finance houses manipulate people into thinking its ok to be in debt.
But debt isn’t ok if you go back to your grandparents was debt acceptable then? Did they run up such big debts their grandchildren couldn’t pay? Answer is no as it was shunned upon and shameful to owe money or be seen to be borrowing. The mortgage is one thing people may stretch to but generally riding on debt was never the way forward except for the last 50years. Which makes me wonder how much has people really been spending when the estimates economies are looking at 20 years of debt have we really been spending 70 or 100 years of debt and governments have just been signing it off with inflation and over evaluations of businesses and property?
The shipping container home is too small even before you ever looked at the idea as you knew it was a shipping container. Nobody thinks they are taking up 3/4 more space on the planet in the West than they used to though do they? Need to convert the loft, convert the garage, add a conservatory but for what? Gets back to consumerism as in reality as a child I had no extras and we were content because ok we didn’t know better but even today I would much rather my kids experienced the rain and sunshine than constantly indoors. A shipping container is more of a central pod which opens up areas of the outdoor world.
There is nowhere to put all my excess stuff? Agree with you as I have lots of stuff too at the same time when I am working I can carry nearly everything in one suitcase. I don’t watch TV and can use a laptop for most things I need. Even more ultra modern is my new tab that is probably 1/4 the size of a laptop but supplies me everything I need. Ok but what about the plasma? You can still keep it hanging on the wall in a shipping container home but like most things I have found over time the question in my mind is “Do you really need it?”.
When you start doing that its surprising not only how much excess you already have but when buying how much stuff you just don’t buy and find your wallet goes from battered credit cards to real money and buying what you need.
Shipping container homes are about not only a home but changing your way of life if you can’t adapt to it then your right its not for you. At the same time look at what others want in life and not go through life with blinkers.
The photos below were taken by the client owner of the shipping container home being constructed in New Haven, Connecticut.
What interested me most about this design is that they went for a more traditional looking home rather than leaving the shipping containers on view externally. Although it is a shipping container home it does seem miles away from the concept with its exterior finish.
Its not far off being a home and more importantly doesn’t look anything like a shipping container.
The interior finish is very typical of normal home construction and doesn’t stand out. If anything going down this route has helped hide the shipping containers completely.
Currently looks more like a school house until the cladding and windows are added below.
Nearly finished and the shipping containers start to disappear into the design.
These Shipping container accommodation units were built up in Saskatchewan Province Canada for 3Twenty Solutions. They specialise in buildings for mining and oil companies.
Due to the harsh locations many of the buildings have to be brought in during the winters over ice roads and due to the harsh weather its difficult to also construct on site. So prefabricated and shipping containers are the perfect adaptable home for the job. Providing shelter for the workers as well as being easily mobile with most units near completion before they are moved up to their final destination as a shipping container home for mining/oil workers.
The shipping container house that we designed in New Haven, Connecticut is now complete. But I wanted to share his video of some of its construction as it does show how certain parts of the shipping container home are made.
As you can see the formations of the windows are made from angle as well as steel supports being added to not only strengthen the central section of the shipping container home but also to help with the joining of the shipping containers.
Melissa Rivera from Unleash Studio, is the designer of this little project. I found it extremely funny when I first seen it but I am sure a dog and owner would be extremely proud of owning one of these. This little shipping container seems to have all the mod cons a dog needs and more, while extremely stylish. Does get me thinking though how many people would buy one of these? I am not one for the small dog so could see if I built one of these being 1/4 scale of a normal shipping container home if it was to accommodate a larger dog. I do see a lot of people around with their accessory dog and I am sure this is their cup of tea.
Upcycle Living who are based in Phoenix are looking to bring the affordable budget shipping container housing to the mass market. They produced a 2 bedroom home at a green street fair in Phoenix and already the orders began to roll in. Although still not cheap at around $100,000 but demand and interest still seems readily available.
The basic 2 bedroom home was 1,280 square feet built by utilising four fourty foot shipping containers. The exterior wasn’t modified to allow people to see the home was in fact shipping containers. In the future the addition of solar panels and a shade screen are already on the cards. Inside recycled hardwood floors as well as sustainable bamboo kitchen cabinets keep the home in keeping with the green feel.
The other side of the concept is the saving of around at least 2/3rds on traditional building methods which for people taking on mortgages could be a huge chunk of change saved.
The other positive out of this home design is they have kept with the original stackable use of the shipping containers which also makes it faster and easier to construct with compared to fancy designs some architects go for. I quite like this design to be honest as its practical and shows what can be done to make a container a home.
I hear more people say they wouldn’t live in a Shipping Container Home than I hear do. But in reality what if you had no choice? Western society is used to being able to pick what they want since before I was born. Times are a changing however but at the same time people are still able to get a good standard of living without as much work as those in China for example.
I came across these photos of workers in China who do have a Shipping Container Home the boom times China are currently in means many people cannot afford housing but will take what is available often that is shipping containers on the edge of a construction site.
The element of choice has been removed from the equation and not only that the shipping containers are in a sorry state as well. Although it does seem China hasn’t dealt with the housing crisis yet its going to keep hyper inflation affecting the economy until it does solve the problem.
Can’t live in a shipping container home because its too small? Well imagine this setup where a 20ft shipping container is shared with at least 4 people does look rather grim.
For the couples you get a whole 4 square meters of space as you can see here with migrant workers 35-year-old Jiang Zhirong with her 35-year-old husband Gong. But this is the problem we are now facing as reality is kicking in that people in China will put up with a real struggle that makes things in the West seem almost trivial in comparison. They suffer with elitism and corruption that affects their entire trade and markets while damaging ours due to the counterfeiting and companies moving East to save money.
Thing is I do believe things can be done better and that China should be doing more for its workers homes like these below can be cheaply mass produced and its stacking system making it cost affective for workers by lowering the space needed such as below.
Problem for the rest of us is China doesn’t seem to be slowing and although the West seems to think there is some miracle in propping everything up by a capitalist empire its proving that manufacturing and farming will always be the backbones of economies regardless what people tell you with a pin stripe suit and shiny shoes. Fuel prices keep going up and “worker homes” may eventually become a norm in some areas especially for large scale projects. I worked in construction nearly all my working life and have to admit I have no issue with living in a shipping container home and with the end of peak oil and things changing it may not be “choice” but demand that will make the final decisions in future.