by ell brown
Container houses are popping up all over the country
It may have taken the quakes to make us look anew at the versatility of the shipping container, but some have long recognised the big boxes’ potential for more than moving goods.
There are some who would say we have too much choice in how we live these days. Cobbling together a combination of shipping containers – end on end, upright and stacked – linked by walkways, stairways and covered courtyards, with portions cut out for doorways and windows is surely one way of limiting choice in a saturated design-and-build housing market. Or is it?
Container houses are popping up all over the country. In Christchurch, a development in the form of a dozen fully-equipped container pods is set to ease demand in the hot rental market – the ultimate condensed, self- contained living pad in a space 2.3 metres by 5.8 metres. Lego- inspired assembly, the satisfaction of recycling, speed of construction, a range of delivery options, off-site fit out and ease of installation are just a few of the advantages of using containers, according to those who supply and live in them.
Although “very green,” one problem TreeHugger had with the design is that it just uses the crates as “strong building blocks” and doesn’t expose their inherent look in the design.
This design is certainly not the first to use shipping containers in building either. Mother Nature Network has several photos of shipping container homes in a variety of designs from simple to complex. The idea is also similar to New York City’s design for “My Micro NY” apartment project, which according to an artist’s rendition looks similar to shipping containers.
The home is created from 12 containers, on two levels, stepped into the hillside. On the upper level, one extra container has been pared back to provide a deck extension adjacent to the kitchen. Depending on the prevailing wind, the barbeque can be wheeled out front or back so outdoor catering is an option year round. A double garage with laundry, workshop and woodshed is constructed from an additional four containers.
Ultimately, the design, according to World Flex Home’s website, should allow the homes to “produce more energy than they consume, and to withstand earthquakes.”
Small external balconies, with open grating flooring, are accessible from all rooms downstairs. Stepping out is like stepping into the bush. Under plantings have hardly been impacted by the build as containers were craned on to the foundations, minimising the need for bringing heavy machinery on to the site.