King County in Washington has about 26,000 acres of parks and open spaces with trails, trees, and streams. To help people stay overnight in these areas, the county held a design competition — Little Footprint, Big Forest — to create an overnight structure from a surplus, reclaimed, 20-foot shipping container. The winning design was just announced and it comes from none other than HyBrid Architecture, the firm behind the cargo container-based Sunset Idea House 2011.
Speaking of the pros and cons of cargo container construction, web-based design magazine designboom has been working on a DIY-style, live-work container structure on Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy. The “container summer residence” is made with three containers — two live-work units and one bathroom unit with a toilet and shower. Designboom set these directly on the pavement, removed the rust, contracted out the plumbing and electrical, and insulated each ISBU with SuperTherm ceramic paint.
We’ve seen teams around the world doing great things with shipping containers, or intermodal steel building units (ISBU). That said, even carefully designed projects seem to have challenges. ArchDaily, in a recent article called The Pros and Cons of Cargo Container Architecture, said: “Shipping container homes makes sense where resources are scarce, containers are in abundance, and where people are in need of immediate shelter such as, developing nations and disaster relief.”
This is Sunset‘s Idea House, or Cargotecture, which was just on display recently during Celebration Weekend in Menlo Park. It’s a tiny living space of 192 square-feet, though there’s room to sleep up to four. It’s also solar-powered and ultra-modern, yet the nine-year old container structure has visited dozens of countries and traveled more than a half million nautical miles.
This is the first permitted shipping container house in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree, California, according to a statement by the architect, Walter Scott Perry, principal of ecotechdesign. The home, also known as The Tim Palen Studio at Shadow Mountain, was built with re-purposed shipping containers and some impressive green elements such as a steel shade system, a living roof, and a 10,000 gallon water storage tank.
This 2,600 square-foot home in Kansas City was built with five, used shipping containers from China and designed by owner Debbie Glassberg. Referred to as Home Contained, the project has a green roof, spray foam insulation, passive solar design, and geothermal heating. Watch this video below with Glassberg providing a tour of the place: