Storage Containers As a Base for Innovative Housing Design
In recent years storage containers and shipping containers have started to enter the mainstream of architecture. Here in Australia, shipping container and storage container homes are springing up all over the continent. Let’s look at the how’s and why’s.
Why Use Shipping Containers in Housing Design?
- They are affordable – a shipping container is often much cheaper to use than other construction materials.
- They are strong – shipping containers are built tough enough to withstand the knocks that they take when they are loaded onto or offloaded from ships. They can be stacked up to eight high on their corners and within can take up to around 20 tonnes of cargo.
- They are weatherproof – with their skins capable of lasting anything up to 100 years with a bit of care. They are designed to be outside, untreated for five straight years in their service for multimodal shipping companies.
- They are easy to remodel – you can make a number of modifications to the containers to meet your housing needs. Though it adds to the cost of the overall building (and weight) you can cut and reinforce holes in almost any dimension to connect them to other containers or to put windows/doors in.
- In some cases (such as reefer or insulated containers) they are well insulated – because they are designed to keep goods in top condition, they are built with a good amount of insulation.
- They are fast to construct – they can be easily stacked together and are pre-fabricated making them fast to work with. A bricks and mortar home can take more than a year to be built and weatherproofed but a shipping container home can go up in just months.
- They make use of recycled materials – using these containers saves trees from being cut down to supply building materials and prevents them from piling up on a dock somewhere. Using recycled steel is said to be a lot less carbon intensive than a concrete home. A tonne of cement expends a tonne of CO2 into the atmosphere, while you’re effectively using a building block that ‘spent its CO2’ being made to ship goods all over the world. In addition, with the imbalance of trade sending thousands of full containers to consumer countries like Australia and only hundreds back to manufacturing countries like Vietnam and China, many perfectly good shipping containers end up being left to rust instead of being recycled into homes.
These are just some of the utilitarian reasons for people to use storage containers for architecture. But what about aesthetics?
From the sane to thinking outside the box….
Shipping container and storage container homes have a post-industrial chic to their appearance – both inside and out – this is a major reason for architects and people who have an environmental conscience to build a home, restaurant, bar or office. Just look at the photos below to see the funky ideas people have had to make them stand out from the crowd!
They can also blend in. Over the years at Gateway Gazette we have seen one or two examples of shipping container homes where they are built to conform to their local vernacular. Would you have guessed that this US Military building was made of shipping containers?
Want to build your own funky shipping container house?
As we have seen in this article, there are a number of practical reasons people go for shipping containers as a base for housing design – from saving the planet to speed of construction. It is also possible to make a really funky looking building out of shipping containers without anything like the outlay of building it from bricks and mortar.
Do you have ideas of your own? Contact our team at Gateway Container Sales to discuss your needs and how we can supply the containers you need for your project!