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Instant Housing + Designing for Disaster [Wired]

Clean Hub

WIRED has an excellent multimedia presentation on instant, transient, or disaster shelters.  Many of them are made of common or easily movable transportable objects: flat packs, containers, pallets, etc.  Above: Clean Hub by Shelter Architecture; Middle below: DH1 by Gregg Fleishman; Bottom: Pallet House by I-Beam Design.  Enjoy!

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Push Button Industrial Container House

Push Button House

Those of you that follow the container architecture scene know the name of Adam Kalkin.  Here, he's the designer of the Push Button House, which was exported by a company called Illy for display in Europe.  At the push of a button, the container opens like a flower, transforming a simple, rectangular box into a fully furnished, functional space.  Using hydraulic cylinders controlled by a computer inside the kitchen, the house container literally expands into a six-room apartment with a kitchen, dining room, bathroom, bedroom, living room and library in a mere 60 seconds.  The entire house was created from recycled materials, showcasing the best of Kalkin's industrial creativity.  More images below. 

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SG Blocks Rolling Out Safe, Green Building System

Fort Bragg Container Home

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of discussing the phenomenon of container housing with David Cross, Chief Business Development Officer for SG Blocks LLC.  SG Blocks, short for Safe and Green, is a sustainable building system made from containers.  Going beyond the trendy fascination with exposed container architecture design–modern, industrial, and extremely good looking, in my opinion, SG Blocks intends to use containers as a fundamental component to building construction.  A container home doesn’t necessarily have to look like a container home (that’s up to you), but it can have all the same advantages: comfortable, strong, green, and affordable.   

The home you see above is an example of container modules being used on a traditional home as a framing system.  From the outside or inside, you’re not going to know that it was built with container modules.  The cost of framing a home built with SG Blocks is about $22-30 psf, which is roughly comparable to other forms of construction.  BUT did you know that recycling containers into steel beams takes nearly 8,000 kW of energy at a cost of roughly $800?  Rather, it takes about 400 kW of energy to turn containers into a home.  At about 5% of the energy when compared to straight recycling, that’s not bad.  And right now, SG Blocks is in the process of rolling out their building system nationally.

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PieceHomes Set to Premiere at Dwell on Design

Container House by PieceHomes

PieceHomes is a new modern prefab offering by Davis Studio Architecture + Design, set to debut in about a week at Dwell on Design.  Notice the interesting tagline — "pH: for a balanced home."  Nice.  PieceHomes plans to distinguish itself among the pack by providing custom and standardized, modern, modular architecture that is green and affordable.  With a variety of home designs taking shape, pieceHomes will be available this fall and manufactured by XtremeHomes.  Take a gander at the website and some of the home designs.  I’m particularly intrigued by the Container House, 3×4, and Solar Passage (all pictured in this post).  Like many prefabs, pieceHomes also will be designed to incorporate solar panels, green roofs, and other environmental features that fit home site conditions.  It’ll be nice to see some of these renderings in real life. 

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Instant Built House, Rapid Deployment Shelter

IBH Opening 5/31/2007

I like the idea of using things that we already have to create things that we need — which is probably why the concept of container housing is so intriguing.  In Las Vegas, Arnie Stalk, in conjunction with METRO Development Group and SHARE, has created an actual prototype of the Instant Built House.  IBH is a rapid deployment shelter made from standardized, recycled ISO modules — containers that can be transported via ocean cargo ships, railroad "piggy-back" trains, semi-trucks, helicopter airlift operations, and civilian and military jumbo air cargo transports.  In other words, an IBH can be shipped practically anywhere in the world in a moment’s notice. 

IBH Shelters are built with the following:  fully insulated walls, photovoltaic solar array for power, wind-ventilated scoops and skylights, roof-mounted HVAC units, satellite cable and internet, and internal waste collector and water recycling systems.  IBH models are secured on concrete caisson footings, foundations, and slabs.  I’m surprised they used Longhorn colors to paint it, but we’ll let that slide. :)

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Group 41, "CONTAIN Your Enthusiasm"

Hybrid_seattle

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about container architecture, but there’s a good reason to do it today because I’ve received a tip on Joel Karr and Group 41.  This San Francisco-based architecture firm is issuing a innovative project challenge.  Here’s how it works:

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