Living in a Box
[UPDATED 5.22.14] Everyone, it seems, wants to convert shipping containers into small homes or travel pods. For good reason. They look really cool and are eco-friendly. And here are a few we’ve discovered on our travels. The shipping container has been around for half a century, but it has only recently found favor as an inexpensive, eco cabin.
This Shipping Container House has green roofs, solar orientation, passive cooling, pellet stove heating and photovoltaics to create electricity. Located in Nederland, Colorado, this is what we call green living at its best.
Tucked away in the Hamptons, this home designed by Maziar Behrooz Architecture is a container art studio made up of four 8-by-40-foot containers. A two- story chic live and work space that took only a week to build!
Located in Pont Péan, France, we fell in love with The Crossbox by a French Architect firm Clément Gillet Architectes. Built from 4 shipping containers, it is a simple design integrating minimalism.
If this Ecopod (above) is anything to go by, living in a container seems totally viable. Not to be confused with the ecological coffin of the same name, the Ecopod by Dwight Doerkson has extremely green credentials, but (unless you get ridiculously attached) you’re unlikely to be buried in it.
We love Adam Kalkin’s Push-Button House (below), a shipping container that pops open to form a coffee shop. It’s been doing the rounds of exhibitions in the US, but so far we don’t know whether it’s found a permanent home. However, we’ve just found out that Kalkin has also created the Quik House, a prefab three-bed kit house made out of shipping containers, available for order now - check it out.
We also have a soft spot for the Travelpod, the brainchild of British travel chain Travelodge. It’s a box that can be hauled from site to site, providing an instant hotel room wherever it lands. Strictly speaking, it’s not a shipping container, but it certainly owes its inspiration to one.
The All Terrain Cabin (below, and top) by Canadian team, Bark Design Collective, was created as a showcase for Canadian design. But it’s also perfect for a family of four to live comfortably in, off the grid. It can be folded up and packed onto a train or boat, then transported to a site of your choosing and unfolded. Very clever.
Along the same lines is a design by New Zealand’s Atelier Workshop. Called Port-a-Bach (ie a portable bachelor pad, right), it’s a mini home that you can (almost) take with you on your travels.
Check out this seriously cool design for a container house by M2ATK (below). It was created for an artist, with each floor having a different use – one to live in, one to sleep in, and one in which to let his imagination fly. And should the artist decide to move, he can take his home with him.
We’ve just read that Travelodge recently upped the ante, and have produced a hotel created completely from shipping containers. It’s made out of 86 containers, which were assembled in China then stacked on top of each other in Uxbridge, West London (below). The idea is that it can be taken apart and put back together again at great speed, and at low cost. When you’re inside it, it feels like any other budget hotel, and costs next to nothing to stay in. Could this be the future of hotel construction? It’s been suggested that the company should throw down loads of container hotels for the London Olympics. Temporary and affordable.
According to Container City, who have container projects dotted all over the UK, ‘Containers are an extremely flexible method of construction, being both modular in shape, extremely strong structurally and readily available. Container Cities offer an alternative solution to traditional space provision. They are ideal for office and workspace, live-work and key-worker housing.’ We love their recycled freight container Cubes at the Cove Park retreat in the Trossachs, Scotland.
There are many more container pods of all shapes and sizes in production, for use as hotels, cabins, homes, studios, and offices. And no doubt we’ll see plenty more in the coming years. Keep us posted if you hear of any good ones. RM