Luxury Home For Only $250K? Must Be Shipping Containers…
A luxury home in Davie, South Florida is being built of shipping containers and the architect-owner believes it should only cost US$250,000 to build.
Social theory of architecture
The builder is local architect Ashgar Fathi who is moving into container-architecture as a way of differentiating his portfolio. Fathi says that the theory of architecture is that everyone should benefit from a low-cost, well built home.
The Sun Sentinel reported, that Fathi is “inspired by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian philosophy of making small homes accessible for every person. “He tried to standardize materials so everyone can do it. I am basically following his footsteps with a different material so people can have a home without spending millions and millions of dollars. With one third, you can have a home and be proud of it.””
Watch the video below to see drone footage of the residence’s construction.
One limitation that many (but not all) architects face with shipping containers is that they are more like Lego bricks and there are only really two dimensions to build in – upwards or outwards. The Local10 news station reported, Fathi said, “It’s like you’re working with Lego, but I like working with Lego”!
Modular and speed
Modular architecture with shipping containers reduces the time and effort involved and therefore the cost in man hours. You largely have three choices – high cube 40ft, 40ft and 20ft units with which to work with yet with a disc cutter and deft welding hand these units can be almost endlessly expanded.
Fathi has limited the size of the project to eight containers, and even so told local media outlets that the three bedroom container home will still only cost around US $250,000 (AUD $357,000).
He is self-building the project with just one or two hired hands which saves a considerable sum in manpower costs, and being his own client can make the various tweaks and changes as required in full knowledge of the cost implications of those decisions.
Hiding its origins
At the Gateway Gazette we see two types of ‘cargotecture’ – those constructions that scream and shout their globetrotting origins by being un-painted, and those which are far more discreet, hiding under layers of disguise. Fathi chose the latter.
He told Local 10 “The inside will be insulated and dry-walled. When this is done, you’ll never know it was done with a container.”
Even so, once inside the building there may well be fairly obvious constraints in the internal dimensions of the construction. The building, however, is built with spaciousness in mind and has an outdoor deck on the second floor where the residents can chill out with a beer in the evening, watching the world from above.
One last aspect – South Florida is hit by hurricanes so often that locals ask how big it will be before responding to warnings. It has to be a big bugger if they are to bat an eyelid basically!
Homes are built with this issue in mind – they have to be bomb proof to survive a slow moving storm with 150km/h + winds. Fathi is certain that by virtue of the home’s seagoing origins and his engineering that it should take whatever the increasingly unstable Mother Nature chucks at it:
“Hurricane-proof, earthquake-proof, fireproof, everything proof,” Fathi laughed, according to Local 10.
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