Container Living

Anyone who knows me, would testify to the fact that I am utterly fascinated with housing and  design. I have a real interest in low-cost housing and alternative ways of providing shelter.

Many years ago I read about a student housing project in Amsterdam, which was revolutionary in that the housing units were constructed from disused shipping containers. I was intrigued and excited by this concept, and made a point of visiting the site when I was travelling in The Netherlands.

Since then I have been on the look- out for other interesting structures made from shipping containers. I have scoured the internet looking for ideas, as I always had in mind the possibility of using a container for my own back yard project

In my mind’s eye, the container would sit where my utility room is. I would have to demolish the utility room so the container would attach to the west side of the house and extend 20 or 40 feet down into the garden. Containers are usually only 8 feet wide and I would have that space available. It would fit neatly down the side of the house without having to change the French doors leading to the garden and I could customise it like some I had previously seen.

I looked into purchasing a second-hand 20 foot or 40 foot container –

Used shipping Containers in good condition can be purchased in Ireland for about €1650 incl. VAT for a 20 foot container and about €2400 incl. VAT for a 40 foot Container.

What I did not bargain for was the cost of transporting and craning the container over the roof of my house, which could cost from €950 -€1500.

So with the demolition of the utility room; purchasing the container and transporting it – my budget would be decimated. And that is before any structural changes, insulation etc.. Unfortunately a disused container is not on the cards for this specific project.

However, take a look at some exciting structures made from disused containers

This shipping container guesthouse is fitted with a bathroom and one side is used as a garden shed. love the living roof poteetarchitects.com

This shipping container guesthouse is fitted with a bathroom and one side is used as a garden shed. I love the living roof!  poteetarchitects.com

Two shipping containers surround a taller common space. The containers flanking the central space are used for work and sleep  while the central area is used for dining, and living and a loft above.  This structure is off-grid using solar orientation, passive cooling, green roofs, pellet stove heating and photovoltaics to create electricity. www.studioht.co

Two shipping containers surround a taller common space. The containers flanking the central space are used for work and sleep while the central area is used for dining, and living and a loft above. This structure is off-grid using solar orientation, passive cooling, green roofs, pellet stove heating and photovoltaics to create electricity. http://www.studioht.co

The Cross Box, France, comprised of 4 x 40' shipping containers, accommodation totals 1280 sq ft. cgarchitectes.fr Note the different types of cladding

The Cross Box, France, comprised of 4 x 40′ shipping containers, accommodation totals 1280 sq ft. cgarchitectes.fr Note the different types of cladding

The Manifesto House. Constructed from 85% recycled, reused and nonpolluting materials  Two 40-foot shipping containers and two 20-foot shipping containers sided with wooden pallets.

The Manifesto House. Constructed from 85% recycled, reused and nonpolluting materials Two 40-foot shipping containers and two 20-foot shipping containers sided with wooden pallets.

Interior view of The Manifesto House

Interior view of The Manifesto House

Containers of Hope, Costa Rica. The roof between the two salvaged containers, is made from the scrap pieces of metal cut out to make the windows. The central roof creates a feeling of openness and provides cross ventilation and diminishes the need for air conditioning (not that air conditioning is required in Dublin!) benjamingarciasaxe.com

Containers of Hope, Costa Rica. The roof between the two salvaged containers, is made from the scrap pieces of metal cut out to make the windows. The central roof creates a feeling of openness and provides cross ventilation and diminishes the need for air conditioning (not that air conditioning is required in Dublin!) benjamingarciasaxe.com

Keetwonen is the largest container city in the world (1000 units) and is the second most popular student dormitory offered by the student housing corporation "De Key" in Amsterdam. each unit is soundproof and has its own bathroom, kitchen and balcony.  tempohousing.com

Keetwonen -Student Housing, in Amsterdam is the largest container city in the world (1000 units). Each unit is soundproofed and has its own bathroom, kitchen and balcony. tempohousing.com

an office building in Japan

an office building in Japan

I will be watching with great interest Cathy Hogan’s container house  project. She is building a low-cost house (€25000) in County Kilkenny – Very Innovative for rural Ireland

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4 thoughts on “Container Living

  1. Jesse Singh

    You got me thinking, why spend $350,000 on a house where I can buy a bunch of containers and a piece of land for WAY less. The point of a house is just to shelter you. I wonder if you could put some electrical outlets or maybe even go solar power?

    Great post, i really enjoyed it.

    Reply
    1. natasha5kextension Post author

      Thank you Jesse, People are doing wonderful things all over the world with containers. It is possible to be entirely off grid in a shipping container. One of the examples I show uses solar energy for electricity, depending on your budget you can fill your space with all the mod-cons and install heating and plumbing. Like you say- the point of a house is to shelter you-

      Reply

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