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5 Creative Shipping Container Construction Projects

In 2006, Southern California Architect Peter DeMaria, designed the first two story shipping container home in the US as an approved structural system. Shipping container architecture has grown in popularity over the last several years due to the containers wide availability, low expense, and inherent strength. All shipping containers are the same width and come in two standard heights and lengths. This simplifies design, planning, and transport and makes them perfect for modular design. Containers continue to be used in a variety of unique and creative ways.


Containers of Hope
Located in San Jose, Costa Rica, Benjamin Garcia Saxe created a 1,000 square foot home using two 40 foot shipping containers. A slanted roof was built between two containers using scrap pieces of metal that were leftover from making the windows. This unique aspect of the design allows sunlight in but lets hot air escape and provides enough cross ventilation to keep the house cool. The entire cost of building this home was $40,000.


Grillagh Water House
Four used shipping containers were used by architect Patrick Bradley in the creation of a home in the Irish countryside. The primary structure was made up of four 45 foot shipping containers which were assembled around a steel framework to form two cantilever forms. The upper level cantilevers over the lower storey culminating in a balcony. The location of the upper level takes full advantage of the view and natural sunlight allowing the beauty and tranquility of the Irish countryside to be fully experienced. The containers were insulated and weatherproofed to prevent the buildup of condensation.


World’s Biggest Periscope
The architectural firm Barata e Arquitetos Associados created a 12-metre tall periscope in Brazil using a shipping container stood on its end. Known as the Superiscope, it provides a view across Lagoa Santa lagoon. Two mirrors are attached to an MDF framework and set at a 45-degree angle. As light is reflected from the mirrors, a viewer at the bottom can see the image framed at the top.


Zigloo Domestique Complete
Created by architect Keith Dewey, this 1,920 square foot home is located in Victoria, Canada. Eight 20 foot containers were used in construction. The tops of the containers were removed to improve the height of each floor which allowed room for the installation of proper insulation. An in-floor heating system was also installed in this 3 bedroom/2 bathroom home. The cost for the project was estimated to be $180/sq ft ($360,000). Approximately $70/sq ft ($140,000) was saved on construction costs. The build was completed in eight months.


Converted shipping containers
Architect Josué Gillet created an asymmetrical home in France using converted shipping containers. The home has three layers of containers and incorporates a rooftop terrace into its design. Each floor is approximately 100 sq metres in size. The ground floor contains a lobby, a sewing studio and an area for laundry and utilities. The main living space on the first floor consists of an open concept lounge, dining area, and kitchen. Two bedrooms are also located at the front of the house. The upper level is comprised of the master bedroom, an ensuite bathroom, and an easily accessible large roof terrace.

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