|Shipping Containers, Chris Jordan, 2007. Detail of picture representing the 38,000 containers |
processed through American ports every twelve hours.
Shipping containers carry everything from shoes to wheat. 10,000 of them are lost at sea every year. They are the strongest modular structures in the world, and they make great homes.
Shipping containers revolutionized the freight industry in the 1950s. They standardized the loading, transportation, and storage of goods, and slashed the price of shipping by 90%. Global trade was revolutionized as the ease and efficiency of containers moved goods cheaper and quicker than ever before.
It is no coincidence that consumerism rose in prominence along with the shipping container. It is unlikely that the shopping frenzy for cheap goods could continue without them. Big box stores would become little box stores in no time.
Often it is cheaper for shippers to buy new containers than pay to return the empty ones. Now containers are available across the globe making them an accessible, low cost raw material for building alternative, affordable, and attractive housing.
In recent years a new form of architecture has emerged that uses containers as the basis for designing structures of all kinds. One useful site is the Residential Shipping Container Primer. It describes itself as:
"A do it yourself reference and architectural design service for converting recycled intermodal cargo shipping containers into green homes, buildings and architecture. Includes built project examples, details, plans, techniques, videos, and more."
Altering containers for habitation can be done easily, and previously used standard sizes can be bought for about $1,200 dollars or less. Since they are designed to fit together, connecting containers to build larger spaces is simple.
Example of Container Home
Many people are doing innovative things, converting containers to homes. I came across a nice set of photos showing the complete process of converting two containers into a sensible, snug little home.
|Plan using two 40 X 8 containers|
|Containers joined and set on site, with awning and ready for conversion|
|A well-stocked pantry is essential...|
|... as is a place to cook and eat good food.|
|A repurposed bureau made into the bathroom vanity|
|The finished container house makes use of an earth berm along the back side|
To see the full photo set of this project check here.