May seem a waste of energy at first but then again if this type of building is utilized for other buildings off it or back to the grid it may actually pay itself off over time for its generator use or payment from the grid.
Portability is also something people overlook when thinking shipping container buildings as well as “solar power is too expensive”. Well for a friend of mine who’s moving to a remote island he doesn’t have electricity there and generally the buildings are traditional bamboo or concrete. Either way building a home will take time, shipping something like this in however would give him a base of operations until things got underway. As well as a place to charge his power tools. Now this shipping container building by Adaptive Container’s SPACE buildings also has the ease of loading and unloading which many other shipping container building manufacturers are still trying to work round the problem. Add to that the solar rack can be loaded and unloaded in around 30 minutes the whole system is practical as well as thought out.
The name of the type of building is called SPACE which stands for Solar Powered Adaptive Containers for Everyone. Which in reality is a 140sqm of workspace with 20 solar panels on the roof that give out 350 kWh of power a month. Air conditioning is also installed as standard so the “its too hot in a shipping container” defeatists will find they are happy at home inside a shipping container that isn’t racking up the electric bill.
I’m pretty impressed with the layout and the Swiss army approach to design with a basic shipping container attached to one of these would make it a more viable option as the “powered” one would give its excess energy to run the other low cost shipping container unit.
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.
As I look at housing and the way its gone in the last 60 years there has been huge changes from the original prefabricated manufactured homes that were generally concrete built and primarily to house people after the bombings of WW2. Originally designed to be replaced at some point these manufactured homes have only recently started to see their demise and replacement of brick built skins going up the exterior before the removal of the concrete. They were never supposed to be up this long yet even now its still not difficult to find these types of homes in the UK and obviously partly to blame for the term “concrete jungle”. The 60s seen the rise of concrete being used for everything and the housing developments that were supposed to be the cities of the future ended up landing flat on their faces due to high crime, bad planning and poor construction.
Many lessons were learned then and even today things are still evolving, manufactured homes however are part of the housing market that probably can adapt faster than any other housing market as well as offering up and implementing many green solutions as they go. The big argument then is on the fuel usage to move the homes yet they have to be built somewhere and in a factory type condition where they are built in mass production wastage is minimised, labour maximised and new technologies easy to implement. One thing for sure is that its a market that is geared towards the customer to deliver what the customer needs which is another driving force in not only making the houses ultra modern but also extremely green in materials.
Manufactured homes are without a doubt one of the industries that can have a more positive impact on the housing market at the same time help others to improve their services as well. The cost reductions involved with pre-manufactured homes also allows labour savings which can be utilized somewhere else in the home such as adding solar panels or other technologies the house may have not thought of or couldn’t afford otherwise.
For me its a bit of an odd one for sustainable development as an assessment of multi-crops is needed to see if it really is viable for every day use in city dwelling surroundings. Ok we are saving on transportation and lighting,pumps and heat come from solar panels but is it viable?
Many neighbourhoods would see kids running around on the roofs of these units damaging the solar panels at the same time in an upmarket area they don’t blend in. So where do they go?
Not scrapping the idea just trying to see where its viable in urban surroundings as the concept seems mainly to do with reduced travel. Places such as the middle east without a doubt these would be highly useful and productive but in the middle of New York or London?
I think if anything they would be more suited to being hidden away in things like railway arches and other spaces that are often not practical for other use as daylight doesn’t seem to be needed although if doing it myself I have to admit I would look at Louvre ventilation and a roof that allows light to pass. I’m out in the Philippines my main issues are electricity and bugs container farming would work urban scale here but the way things are developed to the West is very different.
Mono-cropping with shipping container farms may be useful for locations such as hospitals,military bases and other high volume and subsidised food locations but still trying to see how this concept fits into Joe public’s way of life. I can see how it works but like many things with shipping container homes and other buildings its to do with planning and surrounding areas more than anything else. Roof top gardens are probably a more viable project in many locations which makes me wonder are we better trying to get people away from daily gardening introducing automated systems or trying to educate people to be more green with the land they have?
Its a system that is often overlooked but is heavily used by certain industries such as the military. The fact is the whole unit can be flat packed and then as you can see in the picture the base and ceiling make up the transportation box with everything inside before being raised. Then the pillars form up on the edges before the slot walls go in. I worked on this style of construction for some time as well as the traditional “plywood” construction of modular structures such as classrooms. It was the shipping container system though that revolutionised the industry and I just wanted to show that this produced in a factory can give a very high finish and low cost installation. For me in the Philippines I know of a mountain that is for sale very cheap and could easily see these being sold down the side of it as low cost housing. Adding to the mountain top a large water gathering system as well as wind turbine and solar panels. Maybe a project for the future but when looking at shipping containers and modular housing remember that the modular frames of containers are built round the same size so mixing with shipping containers is possible for example using a framed unit in the photo without its sides welded to two 20ft containers either side with their sides cut out would give a room 24ft wide by 20ft long without too much effort.
Source: ASA Container
An interesting project design using a mix of shipping containers, glass and solar panels. Combining budget with modern design.
Shipping Container Office
This video runs you through how to convert a shipping container into an office. Watching it you will see a lot of the solutions are very obvious as well as cheap on materials. The important thing to remember its also the fact people don’t think its this easy to do which puts people off. In the near future we will be looking to develop selling these type of units where you can either have one built or literally “buy” and take it with you. This week I am finally going to have enough time to run through a lot of designs I have worked out and start posting them online.
Computer Aid International has installed this solar-powered Internet cafe in Zambia and Kenya. The shipping container internet cafe is housed inside a 20ft shipping container and these units will be distributed to schools right across Zambia and Kenya.
First thing I want to say is that often people question the viability of solar panels for energy at the same time people often forget when thinking about it for themselves they are on grid and in built up areas. What about remote areas that many lack any power for miles or if they do can offer be on and off due to poor reliability.
Sunset Magazine requested HyBrid Architecture to design the Sunset Idea House for 2011. The c-series represents a series of pre-designed, factory built units that can be combined or customized as desired. The house was debuted at Sunset’s annual Celebration Weekend in Menlo Park As you can see from the home its simple but functional. The added features such as the ramp also lend the idea towards elderly users as the house is mainly on one level. Add to that a practical but functional garden this home pretty much has it all in a tiny footprint. The sleeping capacity of the home is a maximum of four and the home is powered by its solar panels.
Its one of the best examples I have seen with a single container unit especially utilizing the sitting room sofa as a fold out bed. It maximises space at the same time allowing the home to seem bigger than it is. But then again when you leave your bedroom in the morning how often do you return there? Makes sense for it to become the sitting room and this is how you manage to maximise the space available for this design.
Its also good to see that the concept is starting to go mainstream although I do think the recession is also getting people to look more practically at their housing needs especially with rising fuel prices and no doubt taxes on land/homes. Hybrid Architecture has been busy developing a series of shipping container modular systems for which they coined the name Cargotecture®.
The unit above starts at $59,000 and comes complete for more details contact Hybrid Architecture.