Every single architect has heard the same question…
“Why is this going to cost so much? Can’t we just build the house out of shipping containers?”
To this I would say, “Of Course! While we’re at it, I can make you a tuxedo out of garbage bags. And, why are you driving that Mercedes? I can take a 1978 Honda Civic, repaint it, and put a Mercedes logo on it. It’ll be just as good! Also, why do you pay to get your hair styled anyways. You realize that shaving it all off is much cheaper and saves a lot of time and energy on the part of hairdressers. It’s so obvious, why didn’t we all think of that before!?”
Yes, you CAN sleep in a dumpster. But why would you?
You can sleep in your car much more comfortably! And you’re not going to do that? Are you?
If you’re not willing to wear a garbage bag dress, or become Freegan, or cook gourmet meals out of garbage, or drive a cheaper less glamorous car, Then Why On Earth would you consider owning a home made out of shipping containers?
I know why. Cuz you’re a cheapskate.
Every single thing in your life is of the utmost quality.
The Gourmet $5 a cup coffee, Massages, facials, psychiatrists, iphones, ipads, expensive cars, high thread count sheets, and then you ask ME if you can sleep in a shipping container??
I think you might actually Deserve it.
Go ahead and try the recycled and reused items I mentioned. When is the last time you bought clothes at a thrift store! Wear thrift store clothes in a nice house. Don’t wear nice clothes in crappy house.
I don’t want to hear about another shipping container, until you come over here in a polyester jumpsuit from St. Vincent’s!!
“Ya know, in the Caribbean, people live in shipping containers.”
That’s because they’re poor. Trust me, they don’t want to live that way. They also sell their bodies for money and smoke a lot of weed.
Perhaps I’m missing the point. Maybe this is all about the white first world slumming it to get a taste of what “real people” live like.
It’s like a USC frat party gone bad.
Or is it just that you want to appear politically correct. Not realizing what a difficult and costly task it is to actually use a container as a house in the first world.
How did all these clients lose sight of beauty, proportion, quality, light and space? It’s not that shipping containers are 100% off limits in architecture. But using them completely because your cheapskate mind has convinced itself that it will keep rain off your head, and impress your friends is just idiotic. It’s as if your only requirement for a Car is that it be made of metal. There must be a larger decision making process than that?
It’s reminds me of a fashionless guy saying, “I wear pants just to keep my nuts covered.” If Architecture were fashion, it would aspire to do more than just shield peoples eyes from seeing your scrotum.
(By the way, I have a used toilet you can use to grow flowers in on your porch too!)
I know all of our entertainment on TV is the worship of Do it Yourself-ers, Home Makeovers, House Flippers, Gator Hunters, Gold Diggers, Pawn Brokers, Crab Fisherman, Truck Drivers, Coupon Hoarders, and Meth Cookers. These professions should be kept as entertainment, and not become something to aspire to.
It’s like going to the highest end restaurant in NYC and asking them to make you a Twinkie.
JUST STOP IT.
Also, Contractors have been using containers as temporary offices for years. ONLY after the Architects think of it, does it become some kind of worthy idea of publishing.
And I already know what the Nay-sayers are going to say.
You want some facts?!???!
A shipping container is a piece of industrial waste. It’s made of steel, as is often rusted, scratched, and unattractive after it’s used and is left for waste. Typically they’re 8 x 8 x 20 feet. Some are 40 feet long.
It’s totally acceptable at Burning Man or in your Central American resort, or as storage.
It is a noble cause to want to reuse one of these for your own home. Well then, please purchase the little airplane made out of cut Coca Cola cans as you walk thru Tijuana.
Oh ya….FACTS. Here goes.
Let’s say you want to build a house out of containers in California.
First you have to buy one for $1000.
Then you have to build a foundation $2,000 depending.
Then you have to insulate it required by energy codes and Title 24.
This will require framing the interior, which will cost around $50 a linear foot.
By the time you’ve done this, you could have just framed a building anyways. You just framed a wood building inside of a steel building.
I’ll estimate framing, insulation, and drywall to be another $3000.
A shipping container is 8’-0” tall typically.
You just furred down the ceiling to insulate it.
Now you are left with a ceiling that’s only 7’-0” tall which is not to code in the USA.
Add some electricity, flooring, oh……what about AC ducts? How do you get that heat and cooling in there?
Also, anything made of steel in many cities requires a city inspector to review the welds as the container is put together.
One way to avoid this problem is to buy a Brand New shipping container which defeats the purpose of buying a container in the first place (to recycle and reuse).
See how quickly the dream dies?
The only people who live in shipping containers are Stow Aways.
IN the USA, with our laws, it’s just not a financially smart thing to undertake. Only the rich could afford it.
You are better off, hiring some Day Laborers loitering in a parking lot somewhere, and hiring them to frame you out a little shack for $150 a square foot. Then go to a salvage yard, and buy used architectural materials like doors, windows and sinks.
Trust me, these day laborers need the money. And I support the working man.
Now, I challenge you to a google search. You will not see a SINGLE comfortable shipping container house, with insulation and normal basic home conveniences, installed outdoors, made from real used containers in the USA, that is not a computer rendering.
All the cool ones you see are playhouses, indoor structures inside of warehouses, or in foreign countries. Period.
Time is more expensive in the USA than any material. So using a container is not going to save you anything.
If you want to learn how to save money on food and shelter, ask the homeless or your accountant.