Why Shipping Container Architecture Gets A Big Tick In Our Book
Surfing the internet you will find a bit of a rebellion taking place among certain factions of architects. Since around 2011 a growing number of them have been questioning the benefits of shipping container architecture. While they have some strong arguments we at Gateway Container Sales aren’t in full agreement. Let’s look at their reasons for having a downer on shipping container architecture and we’ll tell you what we think…
The arguments against…
Broadly the arguments against shipping container architecture fall under the following:
- The space within a container converted for living inside is too small. Essentially by the time you have insulated the box, put in stud walls and a ceiling to hide the utilities you have a low ceilinged, narrow living space.
- They only stack corner to corner. This is how they are designed to stack at sea and in port. Where you see cantilevers in container architecture this requires a lot of steel reinforcement.
- Cutting out walls to set them side by side and to insert windows takes away structural integrity.
- Preparing the container for habitation requires taking out half a tonne of hazardous waste.
These in themselves are somewhat reasonable arguments. Shipping containers were made and are still made for one real purpose – carrying goods around the world by sea, air and by train. It would be an added expense if they were all created to have a second life as a home, and let’s face it not all containers become houses – indeed, even now they are a fashionable building material, but only a tiny proportion get to live on for decades as a living space…
So, what is right about shipping container homes?
Here are 5 reasons we at Gateway Container Sales think that shipping container architecture is the way to go:
1. Speed of construction
Shipping container homes can be converted off site with most of the fixtures and fittings installed and put in place in a matter of hours. You don’t have to wait for a builder to take months in constructing your home and weather really isn’t a problem in putting the home together as, often, the conversions are done inside weatherproof buildings. In stormy or very hot weather construction teams may not be able to build a bricks and mortar home.
2. If you need a temporary living or working space
Shipping containers are pretty much ideal for this purpose. In May this year we showed how scientists in Antarctica are using shipping containers both as a main research base but also to live and work near their experiments many miles from base where commuting to and from the base would otherwise be very dangerous.
3. Container architecture has been very successfully used in disaster zones
Pre-converted containers can be dropped into refugee camps and thereby provide secure, weatherproof housing for those who have lost everything. Being very durable they can be temporary homes for the years that it can take for people to rebuild their lives.
4. Offices and outhouses
Shipping containers make very good small buildings. If you want some working or playing space at home but there isn’t the room inside your home, a shipping container can be converted offsite and dropped into position in your yard or garden. They can be fully connected with plumbing and electricity (WiFi too!) and without having to move house you can extend you living and working space.
5. Let’s face it, they look cool too!
Not everyone likes to live a vernacular life with the vernacular amount of children and vernacular job – nor do they like living in homes that match the local vernacular!!! For those who like to break the mould beyond minor middle class rebellion, shipping container architecture is a great way to go against the norm of living a beige coloured way of life in a beige world. Though shipping container homes can be made to blend in, they will always hint at their past in some way, so even while meeting local planning laws you can stand out from the crowd…
Want to create a unique shipping container home? Start planning your project today!
Gateway Container Sales are experts in converting and delivering the best second hand shipping containers to your door. We also have an extensive network of architects, engineers and other advisors who all seem to agree that shipping container homes are a very good way to go. Drop us a line today or call on +61 7 3348 6463 to discuss your needs, and our team will help you reuse shipping containers in almost any way you can imagine. We look forward to hearing from you.