How to Live in a Shipping Container

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This ain’t your mama’s prefab.

Mobile homes, step aside-shipping containers and other modern techniques and architectures are here.

This spring, Brio 54 introduces a new set of prefab residential prototypes. Brio54’s mission is to provide sustainable, affordable design while delivering high quality construction. Each Brio54 home comes complete with green features such as centralized efficient heating and cooling, moisture and ventilation control, dual flush toilets, energy star HVAC and appliances, passive solar energy design, all natural wood and stone flooring, and 3Form Ecoresin countertops.

Plans

They have some stiff competition. Since going into production earlier this year, Adam Kalkin has sold a dozen Quik Houses, each based on five shipping containers.

Cheap, strong and easily transportable by boat, truck or train, shipping containers have changed status from waste product to green construction material. The basic Quik House is a two-story, 2,000-square-foot home with three bedrooms, two baths, skylights, and enormous glass windows. The price ranges from $76,000 for the basic kit to $160,000. That`s less than $100 per square foot, including a stainless-steel kitchen and mahogany doors. His most recent design — the “Push Button House” — is a home built inside a shipping container with mechanized walls that open like a blossoming flower.

Stacked Rooms

Architects Pieter Peelings and Silvia Mertens of Sculp(IT) live and work in this four story shipping container home. A spa is located on the roof. Hurricane proof, flood proof, and fire proof, these metal Lego blocks are tough enough to be stacked twelve high. Not only are they green, they fit neatly into odd spaces. Imagine slotting this home in between two skyscrapers!

Hotel to Go

What`s more, they`re movable. Travelodge recently constructed a “portable” hotel out of recycled shipping containers in London, in anticipation of the 2012 Olympics. Each room is a Travelpod. The containers fit together like a giant Lego set. They can be disassembled and easily reassembled at a different site, or used individually:

Out in the Open

The hotel company plans to use Travelpods as an on-site camping alternative for events such as Burning Man. They will be transported from site to site to fit the need for temporary hotels.

Construction

Getting Ready for Camping

Camping Out

Finally, shipping containers work as construction materials in all sorts of environments and difficult-to-reach spaces. These three pictures trace the construction of a home in the midst of a dense rainforest in Australia. This double container home is accessible only by a narrow, unpaved path. The PVC pillars keep the house dry, stable, and vermin-free without disturbing the complex root system underneath. The materials cost less than $16,000 and are both recycled (for the most part) and recyclable for the future.

20 thoughts on “How to Live in a Shipping Container”

  1. Haha, reminds me of Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash. Seems like the hero was living in a shipping container or maybe it was a storage unit. Those homes look pretty sweet though. I’d take them over a trailer any day 😉

  2. Interested in several shipping containers, do you supply ones witha small kitchen/bathroom one end,
    living bedroom other end

  3. Interested in several shipping containers, do you supply ones witha small kitchen/bathroom one end,
    living bedroom other end

  4. I have long been interested in alternative housing ideas that might better suit our human needs regarding our planetary resources. We live in a world where most of the resources are controlled or horded by the few and there should be a way to use our goods more wisely. Shipping containers seem a better alternative for regular housing, but more than that, for emergency disaster housing. Instead of using small, expensive trailers to house disaster victims, we should be recycling our already available containers. Regarding the length of a useful life between camping trailers and shipping containers, I think there would be little comparison.

  5. I have long been interested in alternative housing ideas that might better suit our human needs regarding our planetary resources. We live in a world where most of the resources are controlled or horded by the few and there should be a way to use our goods more wisely. Shipping containers seem a better alternative for regular housing, but more than that, for emergency disaster housing. Instead of using small, expensive trailers to house disaster victims, we should be recycling our already available containers. Regarding the length of a useful life between camping trailers and shipping containers, I think there would be little comparison.

  6. Where can I find a photo of this finished house that you have displayed here (built in Australia) Thanks

  7. Where can I find a photo of this finished house that you have displayed here (built in Australia) Thanks

  8. Our future depends on our ability to save resources by recycling. Container homes seem a great way to do just that. As Dr McGinnis mentions, a refurbished container is a better choice than a camper/trailer and a great recourse for disaster victims. For us who have learned to appreciate minimalistic living spaces…this is fabulous!

  9. Our future depends on our ability to save resources by recycling. Container homes seem a great way to do just that. As Dr McGinnis mentions, a refurbished container is a better choice than a camper/trailer and a great recourse for disaster victims. For us who have learned to appreciate minimalistic living spaces…this is fabulous!

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