Have you ever driven by a stockyard and wondered what becomes of all those stacked shipping containers when they are deemed no longer useful for transport? Increasingly, many are being transformed into usable spaces, both commercially and residentially.
Why use containers for building? Shall we count the reasons?
- Recycling and reclaiming existing containers is eco-friendly.
- Old containers are relatively inexpensive to obtain.
- Containers tend to come in standard sizes, so they are great for modular buildings.
4. They can generally be obtained quickly and easily.
5. Transportation is simple.
6. Containers are designed to be durable and water-tight.
7. They pair up exceedingly well with shipping pallets, which also come in standard sizes, and can be used for shade, ventilation, and design elements.
Big Blue (pictured above) was prefabricated over a period of four (4) months before being craned into place over a fifteen (15) day period. The ground level features several food outlets while the upper levels house technical rooms and ten (10) broadcasting studios, each with unobstructed views and ample natural light.
Another project by Urban Space Management, Container City shows how containers can be re-purposed to create low-rise residential neighbourhoods. Contrary to what might be expected, the building feels quite light and in more sculptural than many. Plenty of natural daylighting and green roofs were incorporated to further up the “green” factor.
I love the Remington Court townhouses by HyBrid Architecture. First off, they’re different; they do not fit the typical “townhouse” mould that is prevalent, at least within the greater Toronto area. They also do not look remotely like shipping containers, inside or out, and the homes strive for sustainability on many levels. Per HyBrid Architecture: “[They] were designed to be sustainable in their passive uses of cross/stack ventilation, thermal massing, super insulated walls/roof, radiant heat, roof gardens, and southern solar access. The interiors are designed to be modestly minimal, efficient, and modern. There is an abundance of natural light from the floor to ceiling windows and clerestory roof access penthouses.”
Infinski also brings a fresh approach to their design of container homes. They offer base models but are more than happy to customize the designs, which is made simple by the inherent modular friendliness of containers. With offices in Spain and Chile, they are very experienced with incorporating elements of ventilation and shading into their projects without sacrificing natural light. Projects typically use 80% recycled / reclaimed content.
Would you consider designing a space using containers?