Recycled shipping containers are blending environmentalism with style.
Corrugated shipping containers have come a long way from transport, storage, and handling of various goods. They have attracted the eye and attention of architects and city planners alike. (Pics)
Never mind DeKalb Market—Downtown Brooklyn’s brand-new food-and-retail center formed entirely of used shipping containers—the recycled structures are now icons of cool, earth-conscious, and very chic 21st-century residential living. The building movement was arguably sanctified in the pages of modern-design magazines such as Dwell and has already evolved beyond its students-on-a-budget, hippied-out roots. While crafting houses from shipping containers is certainly a money-saving building method, creative architects also aim to find a balance between the practical and the aesthetic: how does one save on construction costs while also creating stylish homes?
What visual value does discarded metal really offer? And is it really possible for a hunk of junk to become something beautiful? The answer is a resounding “YES!”—and the following examples of shipping containers-turned-houses prove why:
Simple, single-container home interior.
Creative architects have latched on to the idea of recycling steel shipping containers to save on construction costs. While it’s certainly cheaper, this isn’t just some exercise in odd-looking green building, but an honest attempt to create stylish homes out of the ubiquitous steel boxes. In its simplest form, like this rendition from Poteet Architecture (above), the container house is just a single box with all the necessary essentials for living crammed inside, but things get much more complex.
This container home has 18-foot ceilings.
Let’s start off slowly, adding just one more container to the mix with this woodsy studio by Maziar Behrooz Architecture. To solve the perennial container problem of low ceilings, the architects designed a double-height basement and capped it off with two containers with glass on each end. The final product has 18-foot ceilings and a clean white interior.
Stacked containers compose part of this home.
Sometimes the shipping containers form just part of the house. The Redondo Beach House by De Maria Design uses a stacked pair of containers to form an indoor/outdoor entryway and several more integrated throughout the house. The dinged-up exteriors have been cleaned and painted a crisp white to match the contemporary feel.
Containers form the windows of this New York townhouse.
The containers have also been used in the renovation of existing houses. The designers of this New York City townhouse, Lot-Ek Architects, found many uses for the sturdy steel boxes. Three cut ends form large windows at the front of the house, while a pair on the roof serve as a glassy penthouse. Little is done to disguise the rooftop pair and they even have red lights as if they were still on the back of a truck.
Bicycle parking abounds in this Dutch container complex.
Some truly ambitious architects out of Holland have taken this whole shipping container thing to a new level with a 1,000-unit apartment block created almost entirely out of recycled containers from China. Initially designed to be moved after five years, the complex has had its lease extended until 2016. Good looking and well-suited to Amsterdam students—there’s plenty of secure bike parking between the buildings—Keetwonen is one of TempoHousing’s success stories.