German architect Han Slawik created his Homebox design based on the shipping container building model, taking into consideration the ease of transport, universal dimensions and general usefulness of shipping containers. However, the Homebox is not made from an actual steel shipping container. Slawik simply took all the best parts of shipping container architecture and modified it to be easier to build and maintain. Modification of steel structures during the building process, as well as the subsequent repair and maintenance is costly, which is one of the drawbacks of building homes from shipping containers.
Homebox has the same dimensions as a standard international shipping container, but the structure is designed to be placed vertically and not horizontally. The Homebox is designed as a three-story house and has a footprint of 75 square feet, and a net living area of 150 square feet. The kitchen, dining room and bathroom are on the ground floor, a bedroom on the second floor and the main living area on the third floor. The top story has the most privacy, as it is cut off from the rest of the house, while it also gets the most sunlight.
Since the house stands vertically, is very compact, and can easily be transported anywhere using a standard truck, or global shipping methods, the Homebox can be erected almost anywhere. It fits into small spaces, unused plots of land, alleys or even parking lots. Several of these structures can be grouped together to form a community, and they may prove a great housing solution for people who need to move frequently. Due to its portability Homebox houses can also be used as emergency relief homes.
In order to keep the costs of construction low, the builders used wood as the main building material. Most of the interior inbuilt items of the house, such as the stairs, window shutters, tables, beds and chairs, are also made from wood. The ground level of the house has a large wooden shutter, which opens out much like a shipping container door, and can function as a deck.
In the original design of the home all three levels were of equal height, but the newest model has levels of differing heights. The so-called Homebox 2 also features larger windows to allow more natural light to enter the small house. Slawik is also already planning the Homebox 3. The houses will soon be available to buy for around €25,000 or $32,500.