Low Cost House-in-a-House Made of 2 Shipping Containers

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[ By Steph in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Low Cost Shipping Container House 1

Two colorful shipping containers set inside a garage-like outer structure form a spacious yet incredibly affordable family home free of the issues that can sometimes come with crate-based architecture, like poor insulation and soundproofing. The containers form two private rooms with loft space on each roof, while the envelope creates a courtyard and encourages air flow.

Low Cost Shipping Container House 2

The outer structure features a section of transparent panels to bring in daylight, saving energy. Large sliding doors open the home to the air in nice weather, and translucent walls help blur the boundaries between outdoors and in a little bit more.

Low Cost Shipping Container House 3

Low Cost Shipping Container House 4

JYA-RCHITECTS designed the home for a family of seven in a rural South Korea village as an alternative to the dangerous, unsanitary housing they were previously living in. Sponsored by the Korea Child Fund, which improves living environments for low-income families, the project took on the challenge of creating a home that was large enough to make the family comfortable while sticking to an extremely tight budget.

Low Cost Shipping Container House 5

The solution is a single-story home with both private and communal spaces, making use of unwanted, cheap, prefabricated and readily available materials. While the envelope was custom-created for the project, it’s easy to imagine this idea being replicated with garage or shed kits, putting possibilities for affordable DIY housing in the hands of people of all walks of life, all over the world.


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Sea Fort for Sale: Buy a Massive Maritime Mansion in Britain

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Built in the 1860s and now on sale for half a million pounds (under $1,000,000) , it is hard to beat what this sea fort offers by way of views, a prestigious address (No 1 Thames) and amazing location (a short commute by speedboat from London).

sea for for sale

sea fort by land

sea fort bbc video

The massive fortified structure (featuring 15-foot-thick walls) can be accessed by boat or walked to when the tide is low, albeit a long and muddy way to go. A BBC interview (screenshots above and below) shows both the problems and potential of this amazing piece of real estate – there are precedents, too, for converting old British army and sea forts as well as harbor bases.

sea fort footage closeup

sea fort entry stone

sea fort ruin interior

The current owner purchased the property from the Crown Estate, which is to say he approach the “Lord High Admiral for Her Most Excellency Majesty Queen Elizabeth”, made an offer and had it accepted.

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However, the buyer-turned-seller, himself a London resident, never found the time or funds to refurbish the place, so it remains in a state of partial decay – a would-be purchaser should expect a significant outlay for renovating the building’s exterior and interior alike.

sea fort vision idea

sea fort design idea

Still, for someone with a fortune as well as a vision, it is hard to imagine a neater place to escape from city life. The firm WT Architecture has already taken a stab at conceptual designs for rehabilitating to structure (renderings shown above and below). As their drawings illustrate, there is a rich variety in terms of materials, shapes and spaces to work with, including a cavernous central stone circle with a tall wood-and-concrete watchtower and an adjacent rectangular brick structure (that could be used for guests).

sea fort section drawing copy

sea fort renovation rendering

As BldgBlog notes, “At first glance, it’s an amazing offshore castle, a fairy tale artificial island of 19th-century military Romanticism roughly an hour’s boat ride east of London. But don’t jump in too quickly, lest you overlook the ruinous state of the place: it needs almost literally everything, from plumbing to electricity, glass windows to the most thorough cleaning you could imagine, having been open to the oceanic elements for decades”


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Containertecture: Shipping Crate-Based Buildings by LOT-EK

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[ By Steph in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

LOT-EK C-Home 1

Early explorers in the realm of prefab shipping container-based architecture, design studio LOT-EK stacks these steel crates to create everything from compact homes to massive retail complexes. Making aesthetics and functionality equally important, LOT-EK gives the containers a visual dynamism while keeping its structures economical, portable and easy to assemble.

Sanlitun South
LOT-EK Sanitlun 1

LOT-EK Sanitlun 2

Bright red shipping containers burst out of the facade of the Sanitlun South retail complex in Beijing, “organized like a medieval village with a dense fabric of narrow alleys, low-rise buildings, elevated walkways and bridges connection all levels.” Eight-foot-wide shipping containers inserted randomly throughout the structure determine the rhythm of the whole, functioning as canopies over the retail store entrances on the exterior and functioning as small lobbies for stores on the inside.

Whitney Studio
LOT-EK Whitney Studio 1

LOT-EK Whitney Studio 2

Six stacked steel shipping containers form a dense, minimalist cube functioning as an ultra-modern art studio space for the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. The 700-square-foot, 2-story space features a vivid yellow diagonal slice running up to the roof to create a skylight.

PUMA City Shipping Container Store
LOT-EK Puma City 1

LOT-EK Puma City 2

LOT-EK Puma City 3
Transported from Spain to Stockholm to Boston, PUMA’s pop-up store had to be highly portable and easy to assemble and disassemble. LOT-EK retrofitted 24 shipping containers to create a retail and event building that could go from one international port to the next, but still feel fresh and dynamic and highly functional. The four-story space features double-height ceilings, a downstairs retail space, upstairs offices and storage, and a bar and open terrace on the top. 40-foot-long shipping containers along the outside join and secure the whole structure both horizontally and vertically.

APAP OpenSchool
LOT-EK APAP 2

LOT-EK APAP 3

LOT-EK APAP 4

The APAP2010 OpenSchool building serves as a recreational space for a public art program at an art school in South Korea, and also as a testing ground for ‘radical container assemblies with high sculptural potential.’ 8 containers are cut along a 45-degree angle and assembled in what LOT-EK describes as “a fishbone pattern generating a large arrow-like volume lifted three meters over the landscape.” The bent container offers access from the pedestrian path outside to the upper levels of the building.

C-Home
LOT-EK C-Home 3

LOT-EK C-Home 2.jp

C-Home is a series of pre-fabricated homes upcycling shipping containers to provide anywhere from 300 to 1300 square feet of living space. Since they’re made of recycled materials – and shipping containers are composed of strong Cor-ten steel – they’re both affordable and durable. Folding cut-outs in the facade let in light and provide a terrace when open.

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Under London: Disused Tunnel Now a Subterranean Skate Park

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[ By Steph in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

House of Vans Skate Park 1

The infamous Old Vic Tunnels under London’s Waterloo Station are now home to the city’s first subterranean skate park with the opening of House of Vans, a cultural complex taking up the entire 32,000-square-foot space. In addition to the pool-style bowl, street section and mini-ramp for skaters, the space will offer a music venue, cafe, bar, cinema, artist studios and gallery space.

House of Vans Skate Park 2

House of Vans Skate Park 5

The four massive tunnels were the subject of a bidding war once the Old Vic Theather vacated the underground space, with Vans reportedly beating out Apple and Nike. The skate park is a fitting usage for it, located adjacent to London’s largest legal graffiti wall and another skate park on the Thames River.

House of Vans Skate Park 3

House of Vans Skate Park 4

The smooth new concrete surfaces and black-and-white checkered floors contrast with the centuries-old weathered brick surfaces of the original tunnels, which are still under control of England’s Department of Transport. Before it was taken over by Old Vic, the disused tunnel played host to the premiere of Banksy’s movie Exit Through the Gift Shop.

House of Vans Skate Park 6

House of Vans Skate Park 7

Skate sessions are free, but must be reserved in advance, with time slots getting snapped up as much as a month ahead of time. Artists selected to utilize the studios for free get the opportunity to display their work in the gallery space at the end of their tenancy.


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13 Transforming Houses Slide, Unfold, Spin and Expand

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[ By Steph in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Transforming Houses Sliding 3

Rooms rotate, roofs open to the sky, facades slide away to reveal glass walls and interiors literally turn inside out in these 13 transforming, highly customizable home designs. Some close up into impenetrable fortresses for maximum security while others unfold to blur the boundaries between indoors and out.

The Sliding House by DRMM

Transforming Houses Sliding 2

Transforming Houses Sliding 1

The outer walls and roof of this house in Suffolk, England by DRMM slide back and forth on rails to reveal a glassed-in static structure, opening the house to the outside world to a highly customizable degree. Deceptively simple-looking when it’s all closed up, the house practically transforms into a greenhouse when the 50-ton mobile roof and wall enclosure is pulled back via electric motors charged by solar panels.

Bedrooms That Can Be Wheeled Outside

Transforming Houses Sarzeau 1

Transforming Houses Sarzeau 2

Ever wish you could move your bed outside on a particularly nice day? The lucky residents of this house in Sazeau, France by Raum can go one step further, wheeling their entire bedrooms out of the house and onto a wooden terrace to interact with the surrounding landscape. A large doorway makes it easy to move the lightweight wooden cubes outside.

Push a Button, Change Your House Layout

Transforming Houses Rotating Rooms 1 Transforming Houses Rotating Rooms 2

Three wooden boxes within a fixed volume rotate and extend outward with the push of a button at the Sharifi-Ha house in Tehran by nextoffice. The volumes contain a guest room, home office and dining room that can either be aligned flush against the static parts of the home or rotated so the glassed-in ends face a variety of angles.

M-Velope Transformer House

Transforming Houses Mvelope 1

Transforming Houses Mvelope 2

A 230-square-foot mobile living space expands in surprising ways with slatted wood panels that bend and angle in surprising ways. Extending out from a steel frame, the walls fold to reveal interior benches, sleeping platforms, work surfaces and small shaded rooms.

Shed-to-Beach-House

Transforming Houses Huts on Sleds 1

Transforming Houses Huts on Sleds 2.jg

What looks like no more than a wooden shed at first glance is actually a mobile beach house that can be towed off the sand before severe storms. Located on the northern coast of New Zealand, the ‘hut on a sled’ by Crosson Clarke Carnachan features a large wooden shutter facade that opens to reveal a two-story glazed wall facing the sea. The glass is operable, as well, opening the entire interior up to the ocean breezes.

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The Bucks Stop Here: 9 Closed & Abandoned Dollar Stores

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[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

abandoned closed Big Lots dollar store
Dollar Stores may be the new face of retail in post-9/11 America but when they close or are abandoned, that’s change we don’t want to believe in.

Big Lots? More like Big Lost, know what I’m sayin’? A big lot of credit goes out to Flickr user Andrew T…has left the building for capturing the forlorn state of the above former Green Bay, WI, Big Lots store in August of 2011. Good thing he did – by December of the same year, the store had been demolished and all that was left was an open field.

General Retreat

abandoned closed Dollar General Columbia dollar store 1a

abandoned closed Dollar General Columbia dollar store 1b

abandoned closed Dollar General Columbia dollar store 1c

abandoned closed Dollar General Columbia dollar store Radio Shack

It’s getting to the point where not much remains open in Columbia, SC… Columbia Closings’ alphabetical list goes on and on and on. Very few failed local businesses are dollar stores, however, which may say something about the city’s economy. Here’s a Dollar General that just couldn’t cut the mustard in early 2012 but if the strip mall’s landlord thinks he’s getting the last laugh, they’d best think again: the store re-opened as a Radio Shack.

Detroit Buck City

abandoned closed Detroit dollar store 2

abandoned closed Detroit dollar store 1

You know the neighborhood’s going downhill fast when the local dollar store accepts food stamps… and then closes… and then gets tagged. Such is the sad case of Y OLLAR TORE (formerly MY DOLLAR STORE), not part of a chain though it’s doubtful that would have helped save them. If you haven’t already guessed, this post-apocalyptic ex-business is located on Detroit’s east side, which is definitely not its best side.

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Social Structure: Apartment Tower Fosters Community Creation

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

social apartment complex balconies

Tall residential complexes often share very little common space, leading to a relatively solitary living experience despite the density of dwellings – this design aims to change that paradigm dramatically.

social interaction building

Indeed, helping people get to know their neighbors the driving concept behind this building in Antwerp, Belgium, where similar units are clustered around shared balconies and gardens.

social structure community interactions

Communal dining, rooftop deck, bike repair and indoor green spaces also encourage further interaction, increasing opportunities for chance encounters. As Black Swan author Nassim Nicholas Taleb writes, “This makes living in big cities invaluable because you increase the odds of serendipitous encounters — you gain exposure to the envelope of serendipity”

social housing site plan

Designed by C.F. Møller Architects and Brut Architecture and Urban Design, the idea is to increase interactions both within smaller sets of apartments and throughout the complex.

social building site section

All of this is meant to help residents form bonds more quickly, beyond the one-off greetings in elevators and periodic meetings in one-per-building community rooms.

social urban design strategy

The conceptual intent is also cleverly legible on the exterior of the building, with a facade that is broken down into different sections to create a series of scales showing small individual units and collections thereof within the framework of the larger structure.


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LEGO Architecture: 12 Sets Explore Buildings Brick by Brick

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LEGO Architecture Main

Whether official or fan-created, LEGO architecture sets enable wannabe builders to understand just how some of the world’s most iconic structures come together in terms of architectural elements, form and lines. The brand has created an architecture series exploring “the fascinating worlds of architecture, engineering and construction,” and LEGO enthusiasts – including architects – have come up with a few of their own.

Monochromatic Architecture Studio Set

LEGO Architecture Monochromatic 1

LEGO Architecture monochromatic 3

LEGO Architecture Monochromatic 2

Luring in architects with its monochromatic color scheme that enables the focus to be on form and shape, the LEGO Architecture Studio set is an all-white series containing over 1,200 pieces. An accompanying 268-page book includes the work of famous architecture firms like Sou Fujimoto, MAD Architects and Safdie Architects and covers principles like modules and repetition, creating surfaces, working in context and symmetry. Not only can it strengthen design skills in an average person, it can actually be used by working architects to create 3D models.

Limited Edition Marina Bay Sands Hotel

LEGO Architecture Marina Bay Sands

Rumored to be set for release only in Asia, the limited edition Marina Bay Sands Hotel set recreates Singapore’s striking cantilevered resort. It’s unclear exactly when this set, which was teased in the back of a LEGO instruction booklet, might be available to the public. Marina Bay Sands is the world’s most expensive building and contains a hotel, convention and exhibition facilities, theaters, restaurants and a 150-meter infinity pool on the roof (which is replicated with translucent blue bricks in this set.)

LEGO Towers by Bjarke Ingels Group

LEGO Architecture Bjarke Ingels 1

LEGO Architecture Bjarke Ingels 2

An architecture concept that was inspired by LEGOs is fittingly rendered in the little plastic bricks with this model from Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG.) The model uses conventional LEGO bricks to show off the design for LEGO Towers, a proposal for a residential, retail and hotel development in Copenhagen. It’s at 1:50 scale, uses 250,000 bricks and took five weeks to build.

Fallingwater

LEGO Architecture Fallingwater LEGO Architecture Fallingwater 2

Perhaps the most well-known private residence in America created by an iconic architect, Fallingwater seems like it was made to be recreated in LEGOs, with its blocky stacked silhouette. Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous design was completed in 1937 and is considered a feat of engineering, its cantilevered floors jutting out over a waterfall.

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Cargo Home Videos: 10 Films on How to Build Container Houses

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cargo shipping container home

You see them all the time as polished finished products, but for those looking to try the ultimate do-it-yourself home-building project, these videos will help show you how various ISO container houses were really built in different environments and at various budgets and scales. From timelapses and diagrams to interviews and walkthroughs, they will help introduce you to what someone attempting a similar endeavor could or should expect along the way.

cargotecture home finished design

In this HGTV segment, you can get an overall sense of how the Seattle architects of Cargotecture shifted two containers to create a livable container retreat of their own. The result is as much an experiment and demonstration model as a working residence, and a good introduction to what is possible and what can be problematic.

modulus shipping container home

In this timelapse footage and subsequent tour, you can see a whole multistory house, designed by David Fenster (filmed by FairCompanies) for the Redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains, coming together in a single day. The structure celebrates the industrial aesthetic of its containerized components, but also reflects the difficult reality of moving building materials out to such a remote location.

cargo home exterior build

shipping container home build

Part of the building is cantilevered over one side, supported by a hollow concrete column below (that in turn also contains an outdoor shower). The layout uses the space between shipping containers to let in light and widen spaces beyond containers while also framing views. The steel shells also make the building more robust, resistant to natural disasters like falling trees and forest fires.

The Kuziel Residence consists of a series of shipping containers set around a central space on concrete foundations, taking a half-year in total to build – the video above shows photos throughout the process. On the builder’s website, you can “read about the idea, all required prep-work, creation of the foundation, six months long endeavour of making of a chassis, build of the timber roof structure and pouring of lots of concrete for floor slab, work on the house exterior and interior and [all the other] things happening along the way.”

Perhaps one of the most audacious shipping container structures ever attempted, this dream ‘Sea Can’ home of Bill Glennon will have 31 total containers when it is completed, using solar for heat and electricity and boasting a windmill as well. Amazingly, some containers are turned vertically, creating turret-style protrusions making the whole thing look like a modern-day castle in its early stages. In the first film, Bill introduces the project. In the second, he gives a brief tour of the interior and explains some of the passive and other sustainable strategies going into the design. In the third, you can see how massive the almost-finished project turns out to be.

Meanwhile, a series of videos from ContainerHomes.net shows the step-by-step process of constructing a small-sized, single-shipping-container abode DIY-style in Costa Rica, highlighting the actual tools and time required for such an undertaking. After all, a container is made of metal and can require a great deal of additional work, particularly when it comes to adding doors and windows, even if it is in a location that does not require a foundation or insulation. Unlike some of the other video series shown here, this is a start-to-finish look at a low-budget cargo home solution, including a walk-through of the modest final product.

Not sure where to look next for inspiration on what or how to build your own cargo container home? Here are 30 additional cargo container homes, 30 container offices, 20 cargo city and container shelter concepts, and some additional cargotecture. Whatever you do, keep in mind that building codes vary between cities, states and countries, and climactic demands also impact what degree of finish your shelter may require.


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