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.
Housefish, a modular furniture company based in Denver, Colorado, conceived a new shelf design with inspiration from a beehive. Called Hex Modular Shelving, each shelf is made with custom aluminum extrusions that are light, strong, and hexagonal. The extrusions are then paired with FSC-certified, zero-VOC finish, maple plywood boards to create a strong and contemporary piece of furniture.
If prefab connotes the idea that a home is standardized, perhaps this home sheds some of that. It wasn’t fabricated to benefit from scale so much as to conserve resources by building it in the vicinity of people and services. Ruby Springs Prefab was built in Bozeman — roughly 300 feet from both the interior designer Shack Up Studio and architect/builder Medicine Hat Inc. — and installed in a remote location in Ruby Springs, Montana.
This Rocio Romero LV Series home was built in 2007 on Whidbey Island in Washington. The owners have the 11-acre patch of land and home listed for sale for $429,000, which includes 1,190 square feet, 2 bedrooms, and 1.75 bathrooms. The listing says the home has stainless appliances, CaesarStone countertops, bamboo floors, radiant heat, and everything else that comes with an LV model home. Check out this modern prefab:
If you follow the prefab movement or have an interest in these homes, I recommend reading Todd Woody’s recent profile of Blu Homes in Forbes. Blu, which is planning a second factory north of San Francisco, uses software, engineering, design, and technology to make sustainable homes attainable to more people. They’re a “technology company that builds homes,” according to co-founder Maura McCarthy.
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.”