Lettuce House was built in China in 2014 by the architecture firm Sustainable Lifestyle Lab. Despite the rather funny name, the house is all about being sustainable. It was built out of repurposed shipping containers, is modular, has a roof garden, and even features a sophisticated waste management and water collection system.
The modular Lettuce House is constructed out of six recycled shipping containers. The containers used were standard sized, 20-foot containers, with an 8-foot ceiling. They were not altered much for the construction process, which further offsets the carbon footprint of this home. Each of the containers used creates one of the spaces of the house, namely a kitchen, living area, three bedrooms, a bathroom, a storage room, and an exhibition space. The container at the entrance of the home was placed vertically and forms a courtyard.
Part of the decision to leave the containers in their original conditions had to do with local building restrictions, which mandated that the construction time must be very short. The other restriction was that the house must be recyclable and efficient. To achieve all this, they decided on a modular approach and using containers, so that the entire house could be pre-produced in a factory. Once it all arrives on site, it takes about half an hour for each of the containers to be set in place. All the windows and doors are already precut at the factory. Once all the modules are in place, waterproof rubber is installed in the joints between containers so as to hold them together. After this, the indoor stairs and all the doors are installed. The rest of the interior design is completely up to the owner.
The home also features a series of smart eco-friendly technologies to keep it running. The so-called eco-circle system design includes sewage collection, treatment, and re-use, while there is also a reclaimed water treatment system. Kitchen waste and excreta are also collected, treated and reused, while the house also features a biogas digester, solar energy, wind energy and rainwater collection. The entire roof is one big garden, which can be used for organic farming, while also insulating the home.
For the next two to three years, Lettuce House will be used to study how well the sustainable features of the home perform, and where corrections can still be made. It cost about $35,000 (218,000 Yuan) to build, which includes the transportation and assembly on site.