Living in style in shipping containers
Believe it or not, there is a group of architects who have developed some very elegant residences out of the humble shipping container. Not just residences, there have also been hundreds of metal shipping containers used for museums, restaurants, and weekend homes. You wouldn’t even realize that these beautiful and creative structures once transported supplies across the country.
Shipping containers are stacked, painted and customized to form the exterior structure of the houses. Glass roofs, walls and windows add light and give the structures a very light and airy look.
The Shelburne Museum, located in Vermont, has a collectors house designed by interior designer Albert Hadley and architect Adam Kalkin. It was created using 3 overseas shipping boxes which make for a very eye catching home. The building has glass garage doors, a large patio, living room, bedrooms and a large kitchen.
Adam Kalkin has designed houses out of shipping containers before, but his latest is actually luxury housing for the wealthy. He unveiled his creation at the Art Basel Miami Beach art exhibit in December 2005 and attendees were amazed to see luxurious furnishings and a beautifully designed interior inside a shipping container. The project has the interesting title of “House of Buttons” because it can be loaded into the back of a truck to be moved and opens up like a folding bed to expose the interior.
Jennifer Seigal is another architect who uses shipping containers to create beautiful living spaces. An example is the sea train house she built for real estate developer Richard Carlson, equipped with all utilities and an indoor fountain. She points out that these houses are much less expensive to build than traditional ones, and that they have a very modern look and can be customized to the buyer’s individual needs.
While the use of shipping containers for shelter isn’t new, the idea of making architectural statements and one-of-a-kind creations is. The architects strive to create a feeling of openness, light and beauty using the prefab shipping containers as a base.
Although his Push-Button house is only an experimental project, Mr. Kalkin has built houses that he intends to make available to the public, such as his fast house. He currently has orders for ten. Thesis modern prefab houses they are manufactured from five shipping containers and then loaded onto a truck and delivered to the buyer. It takes less than a week to put them back on site. The Quik House sells for between 150 and 175 thousand dollars, depending on the distance to deliver the house and the options that the client chooses. There are many different options including mahogany pocket doors and a full stainless steel kitchen.
In addition to this deluxe version of a premade house Mr. Kalkin also plans to sell a single shipping container living space called the A-Pod. This will be equivalent to a studio apartment and will sell for less than $100,000.00.
Most architects have noted that the prefab shipping container habitat is ideal for emergency situations and for humanitarian needs. These durable and structurally sound homes can be easily moved on the back of trucks and can be loaded and unloaded multiple times without damage or repair. They can be moved virtually anywhere there is a road and it is easy to connect electrical and plumbing connections to the outside of the shipping container.
They are very dry, resistant to leaks and easy to care for. They can be insulated to protect them from the cold, and despite being metal, they are reported to be easy to cool down even in hot weather. Shipping container homes are virtually fire resistant and can be easily cleaned or painted if necessary.
While a shipping container home may not have been an option you’ve previously considered, it could be something to consider in the future. The sky is the limit to use your imagination in designing your own inexpensive prefab home.