Yogu Shipping Container Coffee Shop, Banilad,Cebu,Philippines

I nearly missed this coffee shop as we drove past it today on the way to the Department of Science and Technology. Its a perfect example of a budget shipping container cafe but done in a very quaint way that is fully functional and the container actually gives it a bit of charm. The other important note here is the location as it slips quietly in between a condominium development and a petrol station which also shows how functional the building can be in a small space. The added canopy gives it a lit sitting area for evenings as well as canopies over the windows and outside area for shade against the Philippines sun.

Another great example of cargotecture in action.

yugo shipping container cafeyugo shipping container cafeyugo shipping container cafe

yugo shipping container cafe

Shipping container the blank canvas for constructing a modular home

shipping container blank canvas

When most people think shipping container they are thinking a solid steel box used to transport goods around the world. A unit that is able to rust easily and overheats in the sun at the same time cold when temperatures drop.

In reality you have this on the left, a blank canvas for modular construction the box like shape gives you a starting point that has many alternatives in its construction and not only that its easy to work with. The skill set needed for self building is reduced drastically down to weights and possibilities, design is reduced down to budgets and creativity. So when you think container think of the drawing as its the basis of modular construction that is sustainable and often from re-cycled units allowing a reduction in waste at the same time putting it to good use. Also using the shape from the drawing takes away a lot of the boundaries people set in their mind and allows the thoughts to flow on how to attach multiple units together to form up a home. The important thing to remember though is the strength comes from the outer frame the wider parts shown on this side of the drawing.

Skylight For Shipping Container Home

Skylights are an important factor of designing a shipping container home that is often overlooked. I can’t see why more people aren’t adding them into the property as they offer up natural lighting that is also more healthy than electrically generated. The Sun-Tek Skylights are aluminium and self flashing but before installing always make sure your going to be able to drain away excess water. Stagnant water is how leaks can happen and why its worth raising the skylights on an angle to reduce the problem. At the same time it is an easy option and easy installation process.

using the exterior of a shipping container as a vertical garden

vertical container garden

Utilization of the side of a shipping container for a vertical garden gives space for growing food and plants but also the greenery can offer a barrier to the shipping container from the sun.

Making Shipping Container Home Roof

This structure for a roof seems the most simple to put together and using scaffolding tubes makes the quickest method if not the cheapest (Being aluminium) at the same time adding a secondary roof creates protection from the sun to help keep the home cool and in this case its being done in sections. Cut out a steel section for the new shipping container home you will probably find it will be easy to fit to the frame on the roof saving buying a roofing sheet.

making shipping container roof

making shipping container roof


Placing a shipping container

The thing with shipping containers although very sturdy if the ground isn’t level it can often twist and pop the wood flooring up as well as make the doors difficult to open. The worst case scenario is that you build uneven then move the container finding it then levels itself damaging the work you undertook.

Now it doesn’t always have to be some complex ground as they are very robust pieces of kit you just have to make sure its level even if its soil your dropping the container onto. Also you have to look at what your needing the container for and where. For example in the UK the howling cold winds can make sitting in a container a cold place to be so sheltering it away from wind channels such as behind a wall are beneficial. But if in the Philippines for example heat is an issue so building the units on pillars is very beneficial as the air flows under the unit as well as the sun heating the ground throughout the day. This affect allows natural heating at night as heat from the ground rises during the night hours to help keep an ambient temperature. How high to place the container is then the next question and one that you need to base on the exact location you want it and needs. For example if building studio apartments maybe you want to create some reverse U shaped concrete pillars 8 – 10ft high to sit the containers on as this not only allows the heating/cooling but also a parking space to keep your vehicle in the shade when not in use. At the same time you could be just raising the same unit on pillars less than 3ft high to allow access for drainage pipes etc. which still offers some heat reflection and cooling but obviously the angle is restricted.

The beauty of the shipping container is that its physically a robust building block you can adapt to most needs as long as your practical and make sure you try to keep things as level as possible you will have little problems especially if joining multiple units. I have worked on modular housing previously and found floor levels as much as 10” out and uneven (10” over one end and 6” under the other) this has happened due to contractors involved in preparing the ground not being part of the modular construction teams not knowing the critical importance of getting things right. Instead doing a quick job for quick pay which resulted in headaches for me as we had to physically lift the units and level them manually adding an extra few days to the job. Which when your talking modular and time sensitive you have containers arriving to be joined yet nowhere to install them until you’ve fixed the first few and over a few days your starting to get problems catching up as things are all out of sequence. For the modest house builder its not too much of a problem but this was a multi storey doctors surgery built in a similar way to shipping container houses.