Shipping Containers: The Homes of the Future
For years, shipping containers have been used to send a variety of items via train, boat and aircraft. But now, more and more people are beginning to see them as a living and design space, rather than as a mere cargo holding box.
The most recent prototype is being introduced in Buenos Aires, Brazil, at the Casa FOA Exhibition. This latest shipping container home comes with 4 “rooms” plus a roof terrace. A couple of the rooms even include secret features, such as a hidden office below a retractable bed and a separating wall that hides a wardrobe. Also included with this prototype are LED lights, a small solar panel on the roof, and wood from sustainably managed forests.
Not only used as home structures, the shipping container idea has also been put to use for college dorms, hotels, and businesses. Last month, it was announced that New York’s Pier 57 will be transformed into a multi-shipping container structure consisting of a rooftop park, open markets and art studios. Designed by LOT-EK and developer YoungWoo, Pier 57’s remodeling will preserve green space and reduce vehicular transportation, without losing sight of its industrial past. A 90,000 square foot “Underwater Discovery Center” has also been proposed for this venture.
Shipping containers are catching the eye of architects, artists and green designers more and more, due to being sturdy structures that can be reused in numerous ways. For a fraction of the cost, labor and resources it takes to build homes or offices by conventional means, shipping containers provide versatility in the ways they can be stacked, restructured, and easily designed for living an eco-friendly lifestyle. One example of this is the Ecopod: a completely transportable, off-the-grid shipping container home. With floors made of recycled rubber, a solar powered fridge, and (optional) composting toilet, you can’t get more eco-friendly than this.
The idea of using shipping containers for a variety of structures is slowly taking the world by storm. Most of the single container homes are also reasonably priced, and an extreme bargain in the real estate market these days. I don’t know if we’ll ever end up living in homes like they had on The Jetsons, but I think with the creation of Push-Button homes, we are certainly well on our way.
By Heidi Marshall