Container Houses – Hobbits in the Mordor of Architecture

Why do people want to build their homes out of shipping containers? Because of the benefits one can gain from containers and the promises related to successful shipping container architecture. Container houses indeed have many benefits that are superior compared to more conventional construction material. Still, there are numerous examples of how container house projects fail. Failure and challenges make some people question containers’ position as a reliable building material. Here we want to discuss some of that criticism.

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Modularity, eco-friendliness and excellent availability are indeed some of the many benefits of shipping containers. The ports of many import driven countries including the US have hundreds of thousands of containers that are never shipped back to their original destination. Therefore it is logical and environmentally friendly to find ways to reuse these building blocks. However like any building material, containers also need to be processed.

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Shipping containers should not be used in the condition that they are when first found in the docks. They have taken hits and transported goods with unknown origin. They might have shipped contaminants and they floors might be in bad condition. Refurbishing  the containers thoroughly is as important as with any construction material.

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Because of the numerous operations including flooring, plumbing, drywall etc., container house projects might become as expensive as ordinary building projects. Thereby it is an recommended option to buy prefabricated container homes from a reliable provider. For instance Shanghai Metal Corporation manufactures and ships numerous prefabricated homes each year to many countries.

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Sometimes container homes get excessive critics. Some people say container homes are not suitable for areas that are either really cold or really hot. This is not true. There is even a huge inhabitable container house complex  in Antarctica!  In hot conditions the container houses can be built to direct the flow of air inside creating a natural ventilation and thus saving costs. Such examples include the container ship terminal in Seville and this container house created by Chinese university students.

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Some people say container houses are not bullet proof. It’s true that the light steel walls won’t stop a .38 Magnum but it will stop dynamite. That’s something, say, a wood house can’t do. Moreover container houses are hurricane and earthquake resistant. Isn’t that more important?

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The thing is that the shipping container architecture industry is really young and under development. In his book, Why A Students Work for C Students And Why C Students Work for the Government, a successful entrepreneur and author Robert Kiyosaki mentions that the construction industry is the slowest industry in adapting new concepts. He says that the time gap between when a new idea is proposed and its adoption is 60 years in the construction industry.

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People have built wood houses for ages, and learned from their mistakes. That’s why wood houses don’t have that much criticism anymore. The container house patent was filed in 1987. Therefore the expected time for flawless container architecture should be around the year 2047. Container housing needs just more time to develop – from hobbits to heroes. Luckily, the signs refer to faster development than 60 years.

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As in any construction industry it is important to do the right things. It is also important to do the things right. That’s what Shanghai Metal Corporation does by specializing in building container houses according to customers’ specification. A sketch of your dream house drawn with Google’s Sketch Up is what we need hear to realize your dreams. You may contact us first by this form. See our service description through this link. Check also our social media sites for future updates.

    

Tuomas P. // SMC Editor

Pictures and more reading: Wikipedia, Survivopedia, Homedit, Apartment Therapy, Container Alliance, Arch Daily, Jets on Green, Tin Can Cabin, Baidu Image

The Many Architectural Applications of Shipping Containers vol.11

Shipping containers are made to be durable. Because of their strength they are also an ideal building material that can be used to build safe homes. Actually, the safety level of shipping containers is so high that they can be used also to build prisons and shelters.

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In Australia’s Victoria, the local government is establishing a prison system of 50 containers.  Victoria is an area of overcrowded prisons, and therefore containers bring an excellent solution for the problem. Australia is planning to apply the same solution in other areas as well.

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Victoria’s prisons are meant for medium-security prisoners. The next question could be, taken the fact that shipping containers are as they are, how can one increase their security level? Modifying the prisons environment would be the only option. Setting up an Alcatraz style prison in the middle of an area of water area would work.  That is actually something that can also be implemented with containers.

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Shipping containers, with some modifications,  can also become protective underground shelters for natural disasters or terrorist attacks. The most important modification is roofing.

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Even though containers’ walls are designed to resist rough weather even in extreme conditions, most people like to bury their container bases in order to make it invisible. Still, one needs to take into consideration that the containers’ steel roofs are not made to last heavy loads. Containers are designed to lie on their four strong corners. So therefore, after digging a hole for the container one should design a frame that supports adding a gabion basket on the container. The gabion basket filled with rocks will protect the container. See original articles for more details.

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Where the containers’ exterior surrounding has some limitations, the interior design is basically free for users’ own imagination. Today some containers come with a generator and bathroom solutions making the containers livable apartments.

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Shipping containers, prefabricated container houses and other construction material can be purchased from Shanghai Metal Corporation. See our webpages for more information. Feel free to send us any questions through this form. Check also our social media channels for future updates.

    

Tuomas P. // SMC Editor

Continue to Chapter 12.

Pictures and Original articles: Rawlinsons.co.nz, Sourceable.net,Theage.com.au, Abc.net.au, Asiapacific.anu.edu.au, Greenbiz.com,Daily Mail, Odt.co.nzTtora.com, Treehugger.com, Foreign Policy Research Institute, Sourceable.net, Prepper-recources.com,Containerauction.com, Emyplanb.wordpress.com,followingfuji1.blogspot.com, Luxtica.com

The Many Architectural Applications of Shipping Containers vol.2

In volume one, we discussed homes, hotels, and retail outlets and their benefits. They are only a fraction of what you can do with shipping containers. The volume two will be about container facilities for relaxation and discuss swimming pools, saunas, and bathhouses.

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A traditional swimming pool’s installation costs might be between US$6000 and $50,000 not to mention excavation and decking costs. A shipping container, on the other hand, can be purchased with approximately $2000.  The additional costs consists of making the pool water proof by lining the interior with a water-proof lining or welding and painting the interior. Also, regular pool filters, pumps and fixtures should be fitted to the container as well.

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Shipping container swimming pool is a nice DIY project. For example Stefan Beese, an experimental architect used a 30 cubic cargo container to turn his New Orlean’s backyard into a luxurious swimming zone. What’s more, he only needed about $5,000 to $7,000 to do that. You can read his whole story through this link.

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Shipping containers can be now used as saunas. A Canadian design studio Castor has designed the first container sauna.

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The 8 ft container is a fully-operational sauna box that uses wood for heating and solar energy for lighting. The mobile sauna also comes with an integrated iPod stereo and an electric guitar hook-up. Also additional creature comforts such as a magnetic truck light, castor stool, and bronze antlers are included.

The SOAK concept is the subject of a Kickstarter campaign

A company named SOAK has an eco-friendly container bathhouse project. This container complex will be able gain 100% of its power from solar energy. The bathhouse also gets a substantial of its water from nature by harvesting and filtering rainwater. They will also reuse the greywater by directing it to their patio’s garden meadow.

The concept calls for 10 percent of SOAK's water to derive from collected rainwater, while...

The company wanted to shipping containers because they are inexpensive to occupy, easy to move and quick to retrofit. Shipping containers also offer a durable and good-looking aesthetics that will support their vision.  SOAK’s goal is to build a bathhouse for “healthy hedonists” that want make an effort to be healthy but do not want to be dogmatic or ideological about it. What’s more they want make their business sociable and sustainable.

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Shipping containers combined supporting construction material is all one needs to build their pools, saunas or even bathhouses. We in Shanghai Metal Corporation sell them both. Please visit our websites on containers and construction material for detailed descriptions. Check also our social media platforms.

    

Tuomas P. // SMC Editor

Sources: See our articles on container swimming pools, saunas, and bathhouses.

Continue to chapter 3

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Container Observatory – The Best Place for First Date!

Shipping containers can be converted into various kinds of buildings ranging from homes to hotels. They can also be fit into their surrounding environment. A sunset observatory in South Korea’s Incheon makes a good example.

A Korean company named  AnL Studio, has created “Ocean Scope”, an observatory for enjoying the sunset and admiring the horizon in a romantic setting. The structure is built on five shipping containers that are placed on different heights. The containers are also placed on 10, 30, 50 degree angles offering visitors different points-of-view. The containers are equipped with staircases.

In South Korea, many shipping containers are used as temporary shelters in rural areas. The containers do their purpose as shelters but still, they are not harmonized with the surrounding nature. Ocean Scope is one of those examples that show how container architecture can build a dialogue with nature.

Fitting container buildings into their surroundings is a relatively easy task. Due to their simple steel structure, container houses are mainly modified by cutting and welding that are not really labour-intensive operations. Incheon’s observatory’s stair design and the positioning of containers show what can be done with welding and cutting.

Shipping containers are designed to hold heavy weight only on their four corner pillars so excess weight on them might be very damaging. Therefore, roofing is always a challenge with container buildings. Our article on containers shelters describes one roofing solution, but the observatory shows how it can be done more conveniently. The containers are put on different angles allowing rainwater and snow pour down from them. How smart!

Shipping containers are a durable material and today’s main component for affordable and sustainable architecture. We in Shanghai Metal Corporation sell this super construction material internationally. To learn more about our containers, please visit our website. Possible inquiries can be submitted through this link. Please visit our social media sites.

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Tuomas P. // SMC Editor

Pictures and original articles: Inhabitat, Dezeen

    

Green Campus – Steve Jobs’ Last Wish for Apple

Before his death in 2011, Steve Jobs announced that Apple wants to build a massive and green campus in Cupertino City California. The construction project has been put off many times but Apple‘s CEO Tim Cook has told that the complex will be finished in 2016.

The sketches of the space-like building look simply astonishing. The Apple campus has been said to become one of the world’s largest corporate campuses and the world’s greenest building. 100 percent of the facilities will utilize renewable energy and just like Coca-Cola in developing countries, Apple will also use solar power in its construction.

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The 260,000 square meter campus will accommodate harshly 14,000 employees who will have the possibility to utilize offices, fitness facilities, auditoriums and cafeterias inside the complex. For enabling such facilities the budget of the project has been raised to over five billion US dollars.

Designed by Foster and Partners, Apple‘s campus will be naturally ventilated meaning that air-conditioning and heating is needed only during 25 percent of a one-year period. The natural appearance will be generated 7000 surrounding trees..

Shanghai Metal Corporation is also specialist in construction projects that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. We also execute prefabricated construction projects and build homes, hotels, villas and offices out of shipping containers. If you are looking for a reliable international construction company and construction material, you should visit our website or just send us an inquiry and our English speaking staff will get back to you. Meanwhile please check our social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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Tuomas P. // SMC Editor

Pictures and original articles: Inhabitat, Apple, The Verge, Bloomberg Business Week

 

Container Garages – The New Homes of Harleys

For many companies, such as Apple, HP and Mattel, their first offices were garages. Today the new low-cost solution for office facilities is using shipping containers. Actually shipping containers narrow the gap between offices and garages even closer as people are really starting to use containers as garages.

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Shipping container construction in general is a trend for sustainable and environmentally friendly architecture. If you consider the many advantages that shipping containers posses, it is not impossible to imagine why so many people wish to build their homes, summer houses or swimming pools using shipping containers.

Shipping containers are in many ways an ideal building material. They are designed to resist harsh environments and therefore they can offer shelter even for natural disasters. They are also designed to be modular what makes it easy to use additional construction material to complete the buildings.

Shipping container construction is said to have lower labor costs compared to traditional construction. This can be explained by their simple steel structure that only requires welding and cutting procedures to be modified. Building a garage for your Harley-Davidson, BMW or Mercedes could not be more pleasant!

As prefabricated and container architecture are gaining global recognition and going mainstream, Shanghai Metal Corporation is proud to be positioned as a reliable partner and a provider of construction material. Our English speaking staff is highly-skilled and is more than happy to assist in any construction related questions. Just send us an inquiry or visit our webpage. Please also remember to follow us on our social media platforms.

    

Tuomas P. // SMC Editor

Pictures and original articles: Wikipedia, HD History & News, Home in a Box, Totaho.com, Youtube, Nealev in Blogspot

Container Summer Pavilions – Luxury for the Modest

Have you ever dreamed about having a summer cottage of your own? Are you considering to buy one or perhaps to build it yourself? Building a vacation house according to one’s own design sounds fantastic, but you might be worried about the costs or confused about the choice of material. Luckily, there is a solution – shipping containers!

Besides shipping goods, shipping containers are also suitable for building beautiful homes in low cost. Actually, the price of an individual 40 ft or 20ft shipping container starts from US 2000. There are at least two reasons why the price is that low.

 

First, the manufacturing process is standardized according to ISO regulations enabling businesses to put containers into mass production. Second, there is a lot of oversupply of containers. According to some statistics, nearly 10,000 units sink annually in the world’s seas and thousands will be abandoned after their first use (read more about a case).

Building out of recycled shipping containers is as good as using totally new ones, and it is also cheaper. Shipping containers are meant to last for ages and tolerate extreme weather conditions in the oceans.  Therefore besides low-cost, shipping containers are also durable and can be considered as a form of sustainable building. Containers are so durable that they can even be converted into shelters for natural disasters.

What’s more, shipping containers come with unlimited design opportunities. The door solutions of shipping containers come in many forms and open-top containers can be transformed into swimming pools. Thanks to the pillars in their four corners, containers can be piled into a complexes of your desire. There are great examples of homes, hotels and stores that show container’s great architectural design. The container city in Mexico is know also for its visual design.

Inspiration for building an own container summer pavilion can be found in the container summer house competition organized by AC-CA. The pictures of these articles include representatives of the best contestant of the competition.

Besides vision and desire, you also will need the material. We in Shanghai Metal Corporation have a long history of providing standardized shipping containers for our international clients. We also have prefabricated container villa solutions that we ship  worldwide. For more details about our products, please visit our website or send us an inquiry.

    

Tuomas P. // SMC Editor

Pictures and original articles: Bustler, Bustler, Competitiononline, AC-CA, Wikipedia on Shipping Container Architecture

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