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. 1

There are many ways how to use shipping containers to create affordable and sufficient real estate for housing or business use. In these series of blogs we will briefly discuss some of them. The volume one takes you to container homes, hotels, and retail outlets.

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The benefits of container homes have been recognized worldwide. For instance, in Finland, container housing is becoming a great solution for offering affordable student homes.

This is the woodland cottage of your dreams.

One of the benefits of shipping containers is their modularity. Containers are like Lego blocks. You can pile them up and thereby even create a multiple floor or a multiple wing mansion. Still, sometimes only one container is enough for building a home.

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A container hotel system is a new trend to take the hotel business closer to a specific clientele. Besides, the hotel solutions are made for luxury consumers offering them a wonderful experience. For example an UK company Snoozebox offers portable hotel services to any location or any events. The portable lodge has 40-400 rooms and each room has a flat screen and a Wifi.

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Conventional retailing includes setting up a store in a fixed location and paying the rent for the use of the real estate. Modern retailing on the other hand, is mobile, meaning that instead of waiting for the customers to come to you, you will be able to easily relocate your business closer to your customers. This simple procedure is going mainstream and it can only be done with shipping containers.

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If one already has an online retail business, it can be easily expanded offline with shipping containers and create a combined retail infrastructure that has all the advantages of both online and offline retailing.

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Shanghai Metal Corporation  sells shipping containers internationally. We also make prefabricated shipping container housing and office solutions. Please visit our website on containers and container buildings for detailed descriptions. Follow us also on these social media platforms.

    

Tuomas P. // SMC Editor

Sources: See our articles on container homes, hotels, and retail outlets.

Continue to chapter 2

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New Building Materials – Containers, Snow, Lego and Beer!

Most of us probably share a concept that houses should be build of, say, wood, stone or concrete. But as we can see, the variety of building materials is actually larger than we would have thought.

For instance in Finland’s city of Kemi, every year they build a large castle of ice and snow. In the castle there is a chapel for couples to get married, a restaurant and a hotel. The hotel rooms’ temperatures are about – 5 degrees Celsius. The hotel also has a lounge with a sauna and a heated swimming pool. The lowest room rate is 125 euros. More information about the snow castle can be found through this link.

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The Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew Buddhist temple in Thailand is constructed from a million glass beer bottles. The mosaics made of beer bottle lids create mesmerizing patterns to the walls. The green glass walls also diffuse light beautifully in the temple.

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A Top Gear celebrity James May built a two-story house which was able to be lived in. For building the house he used over three million Lego blocks, yes, Lego. Another famous Lego building is in Hungary’s Budapest where they have built a Lego tower of over 34 meters tall (114 feet). The tower has been confirmed as the world’s tallest Lego tower by Guinness World Records.

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Shipping containers are getting more mainstream in building relatively cheap but luxurious accommodation. For example in Finland they are building student apartments out of used containers. In China they have a luxurious container village. Please read our blogs on student housing and container hotels for more details.

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Shanghai Metal Corporation is a major supplier in Container Housing industry. To know more about our Container homes, villas, hotels and offices, please visit our website. Please also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You can also download our new mobile application by scanning the QR code below.

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 #BuildingValueAcrossTheGlobe

Tuomas P. // SMC Editor

Pictures and original articles: Visitkemi, Listverse.com, Owip.net, CNN Travel, CNN Travel, Discovering Finland, BBC Travel, Useitagain