Low Tech Texas Container Retreat

Cinco-camp-side

In April 2009, this bold vacation cabin received a 2009 Residential Architect Design Award in the custom home under 3,500 square feet category.  The NY Times may have noticed, because Kate Murphy also published a feature article about the home last week.  Referred to as Camp Cinco, this low-tech retreat was designed by Mark T. Wellen of Rhotenberry Wellen Architects for owner Roger Black and constructed by placing five shipping containers on hand-dug piers.  The design is simple and striking. 

Cinco-camp-diagram

Camp Cinco spreads the typical home features into different containers.  One unit is for storage, another has kitchen amenities, and the last three each have a bed and bathroom.  The interiors are clean and minimalist — just perfect for relaxing in the middle of nowhere — and behind the cargo doors, each unit has sliding glass doors.  That way, the monstrous Texas animals and insects stay outside while the occupants gaze at the passing horizon from the inside. 

Similar to what we saw with the steel canopy on the Ultimate Desert House, the roofs on Camp Cinco provide both visual and cooling benefits.  The roof will absorb a portion of the heat from the Texas sun (and shade the home, too) while some of the rest of the heat will be cooled by winds passing between the container and corrugated steel. 

Residential Architect reports that the construction cost was about $202 per square foot, which at 800 square feet for the project, puts the overall construction (and not design or land) budget at roughly $161,600.  Lastly, if you're interested in hearing the background story, I suggest you read the owner's own account of how things happened:

[+] No deposit, no return by Roger Black.

Cinco-camp-bedroom Cinco-camp-kitchen

Cinco-camp-south

Cinco-camp

Photo credits: Hester + Hardaway, Rhotenberry Wellen Architects.


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  • http://mportlandhomes.com/ M Realty

    I think that little sustainable pre fabricated homes like this would be perfect for disaster relief. Every year there are people that lose their homes to hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes. Homes like this are the best way of providing quick temporary housing to those in need. Hopefully FEMA figures the potential out.

    • Name

      Actually, I would argue that incorporating evacuees into vacancies in their host cities is MUCH more efficient and socially positive. It worked extremely well in Houston after Katrina- the city now has an additional 120,000 people without any increase in crime the crime rate.

  • Anonymous

    Very cool idea. Those shipping containers are so versatile.

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