They cart much of the world’s goods on barges and semi trailers – and now they’re finding a second life as homes. Reused shipping containers have become a sort of poster child for the small footprint house. Architects with creative inspiration and a degree in environmental studies have come up with some unique homes that require fewer materials than a typical house. Here are our top 10 container houses to ogle:
This home combines quirky, streamlined design with green living. Robertson takes advantage of the natural open floor plan of the containers, by installing windows along one full wall to let in light. Along with the pretty interior, the house boasts many sustainable features, such as Supertherm insulation and passive heating and cooling.
Designers at New Zealand’s Atelier workshop came up with the Porta-Bach, a portable holiday home made out of shipping containers. The home is a nod to the “bach,” the nickname for small vacation homes common in New Zealand. The Porta Bach is incredibly versatile, with an interior screen space designed to move to accommodate a variety of living setups. It’s comparably inexpensive and sleeps two adults and two kids.
Designed by London’s Urban Space Management, Container Cities take the idea of the container home to the extreme. As you can imagine, shipping containers are easily stackable, and thus quite amenable to being used in large, modular structures. The firm has already completed several residential container cities. The bright colors of the containers are used in a design-forward manner, creating a cheerful, modern development.
While many of the container homes you’ll see are the work of professional architects and designers, the idea to build container home also appeals to self starters. This home, built form four shipping containers, was designed and constructed by small business owners in the seaside town of Krabi, Thailand. The couple researched container homes and decided that constructing one fit their budget and need for a permanent home for their sandwich shop business.
Hive Modular is a firm dedicated to designing and selling modular homes, many of which utilize shipping containers. The houses are larger and more finished than many container homes, and are bringing the idea of container living to the suburbs. Those looking to build a sustainable home can work directly with Hive’s high end residential architects to customize a home to their needs.
Perhaps you don’t need a suburban townhouse, just a simple, good-looking house. Espace Mobile is the work of Austrian designers and just might fit the bill. This prefabricated container home ranges in price from $80,000-to-$140,000, depending on the layout and square footage you choose. It has a modern look and the wall of windows lets in plenty of light.
Zigloo’s unique design makes the most of cargo containers, while not trying to cover up the design or make it look like a traditional house. Their 2-x-4 is composed of seven containers and features a vaulted roof and open floor plan. The living room, dining room and kitchen are open to one another, and a sliding wall can be removed to expand the space into the den. The home has three bedrooms and two baths, and utilizes efficient in-floor heating and soy-based insulation.
Lot-EK’s fabulous penthouse design is the epitome of industrial chic. The client wanted to renovate a unique space with a view of the Empire State Building. The designers renovated the existing industrial room and used shipping containers and shipping container parts to build the current penthouse. The shipping container on top has its walls partially peeled back, to form an outdoor patio. All in all, the 1,500-square foot structure combines the best in modern design with an intriguing and unfinished look.
Small, sleek, and green – those are the main attributes of Infiniski’s Loft 90. This Chile-based design firm specializes in building container homes and modular homes, and currently has lofts and larger homes available. This loft has a master bedroom and bathroom, along with an open living room/kitchen space. Along with a construction of recycled and nonpolluting materials, these homes also utilize bioclimactic architecture, which leads to a smaller energy footprint over time.
The voices over at Environmental Blogs love the Ecopod, and for good reason. Ecopods is a Canadian company, dedicated to “rethinking the box.” Their small Ecopod is a self-sufficient unit, which can act as short-term accommodations. The pod is designed to be off the grid and is equipped with a solar panel for electricity use on remote sites. This affordable unit can literally be sealed up when its owners need to travel, removing any threat of break-ins or pest problems.
What are your favorite container houses available on the market today?
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