Residential Design – The Shipping Container House

SHIPPING CONTAINER HOUSE - Rendering - elevation_1B copy

Shipping containers have become a big fad in contemporary architecture as they offer an affordable means of obtaining shelter in the face of rising rents and often unavailable bank financing. With the average 20 foot container selling for aprox $2000, even procuring several ends up costing less then a new car. Using the standard 20 ft model as the basis for the design, I created a house that combined 10 of these crates to form a 3 bedroom 2.5 bath house with its own carport, decks and bike storage as well. The diagram below illustrates the rough assembly of the 10 crates into the desired form.

Crate Diagram
Crate Diagram
The plan spans 3 floors with the entrance stair and bike storage at the ground level, with the living spaces on the second floor and the bedrooms on the 3rd. I used the container doors as window awnings on the upper most floor and used the shape of the corrugated metal siding as the basis for the structural support for the building creating a great entrance passage in the process. The shape of the corrugated metal siding also found other uses in the project for both sun shading and as an art piece in the living room. One of the more distinctive features of the design is the stair tower which is illuminated by an opaque glass light well during the day and florescent lighting at night. This vertical feature draws the eye upward to admire the house.

Cost Estimates
In theory the cost of the crates would come to around $20k, however outfitting them with glazing, insulation, interior partitions, plumbing, electrical, and wall board would likely run at least 5x the purchase price. The curtain wall glazing system found in the stair tower and in the living room are likely to be the most expensive elements in outfitting the boxes.

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