Some years ago the London-based architect James Whitaker designed an interesting shipping container office, which was unfortunately never built. But earlier this year, a film producer from LA came across the plans and commissioned Whitaker to build him a home in the same style on his 90-acre (36-hectare) plot in Joshua Tree, California.
The Joshua Tree Residence, as the home is named, will measure a luxurious 2,152 sq ft (200 sq m) once complete. Though very realistic, the pictures are mere renders as construction has not yet begun. Judging from the renders, the residence will be made out of 10-12 shipping containers, which will be left in pretty much the original state. To create the spacious interior layout, the containers will jut out at different angles and inclines. This will also ensure privacy and maximize the view of the surrounding desert.
The center of the home, where the shipping containers come together, will be taken up by a spacious living room, which will offer amazing views, while its large windows will let in plenty of natural light. Elsewhere, the home will also feature three bedrooms, each with its own ensuite bathroom, a kitchen, and a dining room. There will also be a covered area for parking, which will be topped by a solar power array that will provide all the necessary power for the home.
While there will likely be no shortage of sunlight to harvest for electricity, living inside metal boxes in the desert might prove uncomfortably hot. Minimizing the heat gain will be achieved by painting the exterior in a light to reflect the heat, and installing high-performing insulation. The windows at the top of the house will also let out the hot air naturally, while there will also be air-conditioning units strategically placed throughout the home to cool it.
The trend of building shipping container homes seems to be slowing down, but that doesn’t mean it’s going away. There are many benefits of converting containers into homes, one of them being their mobility. And this creation by boat builder Evans really takes advantage of this, since he designed the home so that it is easy to move.
Evans used a 20-foot shipping container to build his home, but it is not one of the standard ones which can be obtained cheaply at most larger ports. This one has a reinforced roof, and doors along the side wall, and costs around $4000 to purchase. Since it already had a large opening on the side, he left it intact for the project and only concentrated on the interior.
His experience in building boats really shows in the clever interior design he employed. There is plenty of storage and plenty of space, and the rich woodwork that everything inside is made of makes it seem more like a luxury yacht than a shipping container house. The home features a lovely kitchen on one end, which has room enough for a standard sized fridge. It also features a high table that can be used as a counter, dining table or work area. The bed is suspended from the ceiling above the sofa, which pulls out to form a double bed. There is also bathroom with an RV style toilet that can either be connected to a sewer or a tank to empty it.
The home has 12V DC lighting throughout which can run on or even off the grid. The batteries and tanks are cleverly hidden behind the fridge. And since he didn’t alter the shipping container to build this home, it can easily be closed up just as it was when still used for shipping goods, loaded onto a truck or ship, and transported to anywhere in the world.
Evans, however, is planning to add more containers onto it, sealing them together along the existing openings in order to create a larger home, since he plans to settle down in the near future.
Here is another creation by Custom Container Living, the shipping container architecture firm out of Archie, Missouri. This one has a generous floor plan, and is large enough for a family to live in comfortably.
The home was built out of a single, standard 40 ft (12 m) shipping container, which they extended in height by 30-in (76.2 cm). This extra height enabled them to build a sleeping loft. The home has 416 sq ft (38 sq m) of floorspace, which still puts it in the realm of tiny homes, but the clever furnishings and the lofts do make it very cozy and comfortable.
The ground floor is comprised of a living/dining area, a kitchen, bathroom and a bedroom. There is a storage stair that leads up to the loft, which is big enough to fit a king size bed and a closet, though the amount of headroom is not impressive. The kitchen is fully equipped with all the necessary appliances, including a full size fridge, while the bathroom is fitted with a bathtub. Apart from other storage space, the stair also houses a built-in washer/dryer combo. The interior features hardwood flooring throughout.
The exterior of this shipping container home is clad in lap siding and features cedar and metal detailing. One of the main concerns when it comes to shipping container architecture is proper insulation, and it this case Custom Container Living opted for spray foam insulation in the walls and ceiling. For heating and cooling needs they installed an efficient Mitsubishi mini-split system.
The container home comes pre-wired for electricity and with all the necessary plumbing fixtures in place, so it can easily be hooked up to the grid. The company also offers optional add-on features, which would make this home completely independent of the grid.
The home pictured above is an on-grid home that was used as a show home, so it is available for purchase for only $54,900.
It seems like shipping container architecture is getting a revival of sorts, despite all the drawbacks and criticisms of this form of architecture. These include the fact that containers are just too narrow, as well as too toxic to be suitable for people to live in. They also need a lot of reinforcing once you start cutting them up to create windows or join them together to make bigger homes. With the latter there is also the question of whether all the work required doesn’t actually eliminate most of the sustainability of this type of architecture. However, a lot of people still love the simplicity and minimalism of shipping container homes, and one such is certainly Shane Blind of New Zealand. He recently completed his shipping container home which is pictured above and which at first glance does not appear to be made out of a container at all.
Shane used a single, 20-foot shipping container to create his modern home. he also added two pop-out units along the sides, which solved the problem of the container being too narrow. Shane uses this so-called “Pod-Tainer” as a guesthouse, so it’s not his full time home. But the architectural solutions he employed would make if highly suitable as such.
He didn’t want to fit the home with foldable or stow-away elements, which led him to create the two pop-out units on the sides. The first 6 by 3 foot (1.8 by 1 m) pop out contains the living area, while the other one, which is right across it contains the bathroom. The latter is quite spacious and features a sink, toilet, and shower, which has enough headroom for a 6 ft man to shower in comfortably. The home also features a kitchenette, which is fitted with a portable stove, refrigerator and a microwave. This area also features a dining table, which could easily be used as a working space. The bedroom is housed in one end of the pod.
This is certainly a great example of shipping container architecture at it’s finest, especially since it eliminated most of the drawbacks of using cargo containers as building blocks. It also only cost him $20,000 to build, though he did most of the work himself over a period of about two months.
This shipping container tiny home was designed in a very unique way, which makes it both stand out from the crowd and quite spacious. It was built out of a single container, and designed by the firm Custom Container Living, which is based in Archie, Missouri.
This tiny home, which does not yet have a name, has a total floorspace of 312 sq ft (28 sq m) and they used a standard 40 ft (12 m) shipping container to build it. They left the container in pretty much the original condition, though they added about 30 inches (76.2 cm) to its height, so they could build two lofts. They also cut away one of the end sections of the container and created a front porch out of it. The only other modification to the container they made was cutting out sections to install the doors and windows.
The interior appears quite spacious and is comprised of a living area and a kitchenette. The latter is equipped with a fridge, a dishwasher, a washer/dryer combo unit, a sink, and a microwave, but there is no stove. The home also features a spacious bathroom, which is fitted with a tub, shower, toilet, and sink. The sleeping loft has an ample amount of headroom and is accessible via a staircase, which doubles as storage space. There is also another, smaller loft on the other side of the home, which is primarily intended as a storage area.
The interior walls are clad in pine tongue and groove, while the exterior is clad in in smart lap siding with cedar edging. They used closed-cell foam for insulation, while a Mitsubishi mini-split system takes care of the cooling and heating needs.
This home can be used both on and off the grid. The basic model comes with all the necessary hookups for water and electricity, and is also pre-wired for TV and appliances. Customers can also opt for an off-the-grid version. The basic version of this container tiny home costs $47,000.