Size doesn’t matter springs to mind in conversation but often it does in some strange way. Mainly because people don’t realise how much space they aren’t using or more importantly how much electric, cooling,heating they waste for floor space they don’t actually need. Here is the joke though this is the apartment I work from and rent out to tenants, none of which have ever complained about size if anything its bigger than a lot of apartments of the same budget :-
We decided to keep it as a studio type (no central wall) to help keep the air flowing as well as giving extra space when needed. There is actually now a wardrobe I built covering the electrical box in the corner to the bed, giving a lot of extra storage space. But as you can see there is even space for an extra sofa bed.
Now this is where its funny as you can see the sitting room area isn’t actually being utilised as generally people sit on the sofa bed and watch TV in what would be the bedroom. an 8ft by 10ft floor area not being used.
A galley styled kitchen keeps things simple but has everything that people generally need. This is the Philippines so microwave food doesn’t exist so neither does the need for a microwave. Bearing in mind I will add more shelving at the end of the kitchen above the refrigerator for the dry goods.
Well what is the point to all this nice look round an apartment but its not a shipping container?
Fact is I was sat working up here the other night and realised something its smaller than 2 x 20ft containers. But I guess if I did the same with a shipping container and gave more space I bet people would say its “too small” simply because they knew it was made from shipping containers. Yet this has been rented out for over 2 years now with several tenants the last leaving a couple of weeks ago while the next arrives in 2 weeks. Not one person has ever said “its too small”.
A bit of a plus on the shipping container side as simply people have been living in spaces smaller than 2x20ft containers but didn’t even realise. In construction terms though here in the Philippines you could build the same sized home with containers for less than P300,000 can’t give an exact figure simply because container prices fluctuate. But your containers come in at around P60,000 – P100,000 each (big price variance).
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.
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.
This practical and child friendly shipping container classroom by Tsai Design Studio was made for underprivileged children on the outskirts of Cape Town. Although limited in space to just 12 square meters the classroom gives teaching room for 25 children between the ages of 5 and 6. During the afternoon it serves as a library for the whole Vissershok primary school. The classroom project was sponsored by three south African companies Woolworths, Safmarine, and AfriSam with the school primarily being used by children who’s parents are local farm workers living in the Du Noon township.
The project idea was the brainchild of 15 year old Marshaam Brink, who responded to Woolworths’ “Making the Difference Through Design” competition with a jungle gym concept. This was then passed over to Tsai Design, who grew her idea into this bright and inspiring learning space. It was Tsai that introduced the idea of a double roof to allow air to create natural cooling while the upper roof also offered some shade to help reduce heat build up. The concrete steps also work as a gathering and meeting area for discussions with the children, a vegetable patch helps educate the children about gardening as well as a source of food.
Shipping container classrooms seem to be cropping up more often and the fact it was a 15 year old that came up with this original idea also shows that the concept has a younger audience already interested and aware of what can be achieved by recycling shipping containers.
A Shipping Container Gallery based in Oslo by MMW for Alexandra Dyvi not only is a cheap method of construction but also extremely environmental when using recycled materials especially if the containers themselves in this case are near their final destination. But also the containers themselves are in keeping with a dockside look.
Due to the lack of light in shipping containers because of no windows the addition of circular windows opposite each other allows strong northern light to pass through, as well as rectangular end windows bringing plenty of light. The original site was one of ship building which is another in keeping factor of the shipping container structure. Especially when you introduce walkways and steel ship type steps.
The structure itself is made up of 10 shipping containers which were then insulated on the interior before covered in plywood and sheetrock.
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.
Initially it seems a bit of a gimmick but when you start looking at the work that has gone into the shipping container as well as some interesting ideas such as the wind up bed it does seem rather well thought out.Jeff Wardell and Claudia Sagan are a pair of travel-loving art collectors which meant they needed a bigger space to show off their collection of over 120 pieces of art they have collected.
This resulted in 2007 the purchase of a 3,200-square-foot and 127-foot-long open-air loft. Rather than splitting the loft into smaller room sections they decided to keep it as open plan as possible for the natural lighting. They pushed the master bedroom to the back, positioned the kitchen and living space in the center and situated a den at the street-facing front windows.
Now the one issue they did have was adding a guest bedroom without disturbing the layout of the loft and this resulted in the idea of the shipping containers. The blue one became the office while the orange made up the guest room. Being very artistic the container interiors are a bit querky and designed to be not only functional but also good to look at. Take a look for yourself in the photos below my favourite idea is the wind down bed.
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