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admin | Category: Shipping Container Manufacturers | 22.03.2014
Steel shipping containers are the temporary homes of countless consumer items being transported all around the world. Shipping container architecture is one of the biggest (relatively) new things in building these days. Shipping Container House By Ross StevensI grew up around shipping containers; my dad made them. From the multi-unit residential cargo container housing shown above to smaller emergency and residential and larger commercial structures they have done a great deal of conceptual and real-life experimentation with the possibilities of shipping containers used in architectural ways. I played with them in architecture school, designing a summer camp out of them, fascinated by the handling technology that made them cheap and easy to move.
But in the real world I found them to be too small, too expensive, and too toxic.Today, shipping container architecture is all the rage, and we have shown dozens of them on TreeHugger. Where containers were once expensive, now they are cheap and ubiquitous, and designers are doing amazing things with them. The abundance and relative cheapness (some sell for as little as $900) of these containers during the last decade comes from the deficit in manufactured goods coming from North America. These manufactured goods come to North America, from Asia and Europe, in containers that often have to be shipped back empty at a considerable expense.


Therefore, new applications are sought for the used containers that have reached their final destination.He then gives a bit of history, tracing container buildings back to a patent in 1989. The key here was mobility; the next year when the containers were empty the building would be shipped south again. Because really, by the time you insulate and finish the interior, what are you going to do in seven feet and a few inches? And you certainly couldn't live in any container made for international travel; to be allowed into Australia the wood floors had to be treated with seriously toxic insecticides. To last ten years in the salt air of a container ship, they were painted in industrial strength paints that are full of toxic chemicals.The real attraction was their mobility. Who in their right mind would nail them down permanently?At Archdaily, Peter picks up on all of these issues of toxicity and size. He also writes:Reusing containers seems to be a low energy alternative, however, few people factor in the amount of energy required to make the box habitable.
The entire structure needs to be sandblasted bare, floors need to be replaced, and openings need to be cut with a torch or fireman's saw. It is about to, as designers and builders finally figure out what shipping containers actually are, which is not just a box, but part of a global transportation system with a vast infrastructure of ships, trains, trucks and cranes that has driven the cost of shipping down to a fraction of what it used to be.Shipping containers as infill housing by MEKAThis is what I think is the future of shipping container architecture, and it is not a happy thought.


Shipping containers have globalized the production of just about everything except housing, because houses are bigger than boxes. MEKA manufactures and finishes new containers in China, then uses that fabulous shipping infrastructure to inexpensively move them anywhere in the world, from Stuttgart to St. Clair Avenue in Toronto, a block from my house.When you think of a shipping container as more than just a box, but part of a system, then it begins to make sense. And the logical, and inevitable conclusion is that housing is no longer any different than any other product, but can be built anywhere in the world. The role of the shipping container in architecture will be to offshore the housing industry to China, just like every other.
That is their real future.If you care about getting consistent, high quality housing that's fast and cheap, this will make you happy.




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