Home, sweet home… For years people have been developing a whole concept of perfect home, built with natural materials, surrounded with a white fence, safe and comfortable for living. Though, today revolutions happen everywhere and architecture is not an exception. Container homes or container houses represents a new form of architecture, where steel containers, primarily designed for shipping goods for long distances, are used as building blocks and structural elements for houses.
One of the earliest and the most notable container home project was completed by Urban Space Management. In 2000, the company built its Container City I in London, which is successfully used today as the place for living and working: flats, offices, retail shops, art studios, even classrooms are located there. Architects Stewart Brand, Peter deMaria, and Adam Kalkin are known pioneers in container home designing.
A container home is built with the help of used ISO containers, which are cheap and strong enough to become a framework for a house. In order to build a container home, constructors place one or several containers onto a regular fundament, cut windows and doors in the walls, insulate the building properly to resist heat and cold, decorate it and voila – a container home is ready for happy living. Furthermore, such shipping containers have modular structure, which means they can be easily attached to each other. This allows architects to create multiple shapes of container homes.
With a price of one 40-feet container equal to about $ 1200, the general cost of container house is said to be twice lower than the cost of building a conventional house. Low cost, high strength, speedy construction, easy modification, and wide availability of shipping containers are named to be the key advantages of building a container home.
However, the whole idea of a container home does not go without a fly in this pot of honey. Some skepticism is caused by high heat conductivity of steel, which requires better insulation for such houses in comparison to the usual brick or wood houses. Besides, serious health risks can originate from the original flooring of shipping containers, which is usually treated with chemicals, harmful for humans. That is why flooring is always removed while building a container home for human habitation.
Though it is a very new concept, the popularity and public interest in container housing is growing rapidly these days in different countries all over the world. Obvious economic benefits, strengthened with the green ideas of recycling and sustainability, create a lot of space for modern architects and constructors to develop and improve the container home concept.