Over the last decade a new and growing trend has appeared in modular housing. That trend is the use of metal shipping containers to create homes. The containers used are the large steel kind that are usually found on a cargo ship, in shipyards, and on train cars and trucks. The material is cheap, sturdy, and comes in standardized sizes and shapes. These containers can be used just like giant building blocks in order to construct all types of buildings. These houses are not just for the poor or for temporary use. Many architects have used them to create elaborate and modern homes that are structurally sound and environmentally friendly.
So, why would anyone choose shipping containers as material to build a home? The first benefit is that they are cheap and easily available. There are literally millions of them littering train yards and clogging up shipping ports. The average container is discarded after only 3-5 years of use. Many laws and regulations force companies to use new containers at least every 20 years. But the containers are built with steel and do not lose their structural integrity after such a short time. The overabundance of them makes for a cheap costing material. The second benefit is in how sturdy that material is. Homes built with shipping containers are made with a fireproof material that is resistant to heavy storms and earthquakes. The basic standardized size of the containers allows architects to put them together in creative ways for both practical and aesthetic purposes.
Another benefit to this type of housing is that it's very environmentally friendly. Using the containers frees up some of the landfill space that they would otherwise be occupying. It also ensures that no trees will need to be cut down in order to provide lumber for your home's frame. They are also good for keeping the home warm in the winter and saving energy. The houses do not need to look like shipping containers. There have been many creative designs for single and multiple story homes built solely out of shipping containers. Other materials can be added for siding, inner walls, and floors to give the house a more comfortable look and feel. Adding insulation and cutting out windows is a simple task. With careful and creative planning the home can have a nice modern look both inside and out.
Beautiful and artistically designed shipping container homes are popping up all over America, Europe, and Asia. The first step in creating a container home for yourself is to contact an architect that deals with this type of construction. A nice perk to having a home built this way is that you can do a lot of the design work and planning yourself. The overall cost will be between 20% and 50% less than a traditionally built custom designed house. The building process takes a much shorter time than that of a traditional home as well.
In addition to residential houses, shipping containers can also be used for a variety of other buildings. They're perfect for any type of temporary housing and building needs since they can be quickly constructed and then easily moved again. This makes them ideal for temporary military bases where the quick construction of housing and buildings is a must. They are also excellent for quick, temporary houses after a natural disaster that leaves people without shelter. Their basic size and sturdy structure make them well suited for extra class spaces in schools, office spaces, stores, factories, and other commercial use. Many home owners use this type of building for a cheap guest house or a second vacation home such as a beach house or cabin.
As the demand for shipping container homes and buildings grows, more businesses and architects are popping up to meet those needs. Some of the most popular companies that deal with shipping container homes are Addis Containers, Jones Partners Architecture Company, Lot-Ek, and The Quick House. With over one million containers discarded each year and the need for cheaper, green housing and creative building solutions, this is a trend that can only grow.