When designing or even building shipping container homes often being practical is overlooked. This shipping container home obviously does what the owner needs but also its ideal for the terrain and country that it resides in. DaveGoesToAfrica has some interesting posts but from a shipping container point of view I could easily see these sized units being ideal for travelers on a limited budget or just looking for short stay accommodation. When designing a shipping container home its good to take the practical side of the home into account and not let what you want stray from what you need or can afford.
Its an idea I have been thinking about for sometime, I find people’s first complaint about shipping container homes as a “concept” is that they are simply too small to be viable. I totally disagree as it all depends on peoples lifestyles but also its very likely they have lived in a smaller space themselves at some point already.
But what if you took the shipping container for an urban situation where land is often at a premium, or more importantly bits of land people can’t imagine being useful due to the size available then take a shipping container and go vertical instead of horizontal. This is still an idea at the moment but thought maybe some of the whizzes out there with a bit of time and 3D imagery could come up with some interesting designs.
I’m sure it can be viable especially in locations that do have a high cost of land and positioning in even what once was a flower bed would be very possible.
The main issue I can see though is the stair access between floors, but like everything else this can be overcome with a good idea pool of people.
40ft container divided into 4 rooms of 10ft high each or at 9ft you could add a 5th floor with 4ft height for storage space. Each room would be 7’8" x 7’10" not huge but a workable space.
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.
One of the problems with building codes in regards to shipping container homes is that there are specific “minimum” room sizes for many things. But like everything there is always a way round it although hoping more and more local government and planning officers start to recognise the viability of shipping container homes.
The “all-season suite,” is a great example of a shipping container home ideal to literally move straight into. They aren’t exactly cheap at $32,500 fully furnished but often people overlook the savings of minimal living with the fact your only heating and cooling a small floor area of 37 square meters of property, which long term means lower running costs.
SNAP Hydroponics is something that has been developed in the Philippines for sustainable living and livelihood. What makes it a little unique compared to most hydroponics setups is that it doesn’t need any electricity which is a huge difference in money cost for production. Obviously the Philippines climate is a country receiving 12 hours of sunshine as well as constant heat which helps. But the SNAP solution which is mixed with water is a cheap solution for plant production that is initially designed for leafy plants. Maybe this is the first step towards developing different solutions for different types of plant to get maximum growth while still being organic. But for me living out in the Philippines with these lightweight boxes how many would you fit on a shipping container home roof? The boxes themselves come from discarded fruit boxes normally carrying grapes which means your recycling a product that is normally scrapped. How to make a SNAP hydroponics setup from a fruit box can be found here.
Ok not exactly a tent and it isn’t exactly camping but this is why they call it glamping a mix of luxury living with the essence of camping. The shipping container configuration though is one I like extremely as the L shape offers up a bit of privacy while being in an open space. Ideally suited to a weekend retreat rather than home living unless your prepared for a minimalist lifestyle but one of the best ways to maximise two 20ft shipping containers I have seen.
Alterra offers rooms in refurbished shipping containers in the woods of Pinamar, an upscale beach resort 350 kilometers south-east from Buenos Aires. Due to its nature and design its more inline with a hotel or hostel than any campsite you will come across but I suppose that’s the idea. The wealthy can afford to pay for a bit more at the same time still want to be in touch with nature and relax without being in a large scale hotel full of other people.
The design was done by local architect Clorindo Testa which is housed on a 32,000sqft lot which also includes an art gallery. The mix of traditional construction home and adjoining shipping containers at the main house is also an interesting blend as it does show how easily the shipping containers can become part of a home.
The containers are also recycled and use energy efficient lighting as well as appliances. No trees were removed either the containers were placed around them which is also another good thing. If your thinking glamping at Alterra is for you be aware that the starting price of a container is $250 per night.
When you go through shipping container homes you will find a trend in the majority of them that they are recycling and trying not to mess around with the area they are housed in, But is this enough?
Earlier looking at the shipping container house in Maui it hit me how they had added to the area by shading the building at the same time hiding it. What this also means is they had actually brought new plant life to the area as well as the new home.
Which gets me onto the subject of are we thinking enough “out of the box?” as obviously planning permissions and permits are often a headache but wouldn’t being over green actually hide the house and enhance the area making it harder for them to say no?
We are in the middle of a so called green revolution of some description, disappointedly it seems more of a middle class fad of fashion in the UK rather than actually trying to do our bit. Driving 20mins to offload the empty bottles at a bottle bank isn’t exactly helping the environment. In many cases the recycling isn’t even viable or green its more a case of “look we are trying something so give us a pat on the back”.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t have home knitted jumpers with a Greenpeace badge or smoke roll ups. I’m a realist not a green activist. For me its more about downsizing and being less of a consumer than bottle banks and paper recycling. Container homes are a step in the right direction but also have to think we could be doing more for the areas around our new container homes.
The world isn’t getting any bigger but sooner or later people are going to have to start to downsize and the current credit crunch issues on everyone’s pocket may be a sign of it already happening. This shipping container home (Towards the end of the video) is a good example of utilizing a couple of containers for a family home.
This style of installation is fairly common even here in the Philippines with the front panel being a complete unit. In the UK and probably most of Europe though we generally go for carcass construction which makes individual cabinets that are bolted together to form up the kitchen. Generally more expensive than the method in the video but also they do come raised off the ground which can be helpful for things like cleaning or avoiding damage during floods. A blown out plinth is cheap to replace but looking at either design as the one in the video is using treated wood it would probably hold up well in a minor flood. When I talk about flooding not talking about the burst banks of the Nile for example but things like burst pipes in cold spells when your out.