Cargotecture, the art of building homes using steel containers, is a trend that has been growing in popularity for the past several years. A storage container may look like just a box made of steel that is used to transport huge cargo and raw materials between distant places, but don’t let its appearance fool you – beyond this simplicity lies the effectiveness and charm of shipping container homes.
Why is the use of shipping containers so popular in the real estate industry? Let us take a look at some of the most common advantages:
Eco-Friendly. Due to the rise in the number of shipping containers in the past several years, transport companies sought for ways to get rid of their used shipping containers. That’s when architects had the idea to recycle these containers and turn them into convenient foundations for homes and offices. Storage container homes have durable steel reinforcements that are self-sufficient, therefore reducing the costs of raw materials used in the foundation like bricks and cement.
Modular. Containers have a standard size, meaning most shipping containers will have the same width and either of the two standard length and height measurements, allowing them to be used as modules that can be combined in a number of creative ways. One of the most common uses for shipping containers is as a temporary office for construction sites, where one or two shipping containers will be placed “as is” without much thought on the aesthetics.
Meanwhile, the concept of shipping container homes is creating more and more variations with regards to the position and placement of the containers, the structure to be implemented, and the theme of the design. Houses could be composed of any number of shipping containers, which already provide the divisions for the different rooms, and due to the minimalistic nature of the shipping containers, the home maker’s imagination is truly the limit.
Affordable. Because shipping containers are in such a state of surplus nowadays, major transport companies sell them at a usually low price for as little as USD1,200 per piece. The amount of construction materials to be used are also reduced because of the shipping container’s innate strength and durability.
Durable. A storage container is made up of metals that are naturally hard and durable to prevent precious cargo from being damaged during long trips. That’s why shipping containers are more than ideal as a construction material. The metal framework can hold itself as well as be able to support multiple shipping containers stacked on top of the other.
While building shipping container homes is definitely a good idea in today’s world, there are still a few factors to take care of when opting for a home made up of smaller pieces of boxes:
Insulation. Most storage container homes require the installation of an insulation system. This is because metals such as steel conduct heat very well. Shipping container homes that are not insulated may be susceptible to damage due to extreme weathers, and people living in an uninsulated shipping container home could have an unpleasant experience. To solve this issue, architects add an extra lining to the interior or exterior walls using materials that provide better insulation to the house.
Construction and transport. Another major difference from building a house brick by brick is the need for a construction crane in order to move and place the shipping containers in the proper position according to the floor plan. Clients should also consider the distance from the transport company to the construction site in order to save on expenses. However, this factor is justified by the reduced cost in materials used in construction such as cement, bricks, etc.
Trends come and go, but storage container housing may be one of the construction methods that are here to stay. Having a home made up of boxes of steel may seem untraditional, but not only will it help declutter the earth, but also offer another sustainable and creative method of construction.