Metal cargo containers became popular building materials in the 1990s, when they were discovered by architects, artists, and designers looking for an alternative to large and expensive houses. Shipping containers were used to construct houses, condominiums, schools, and offices that were assembled in pieces.
The trend did not last long, but it left a lasting impression on architectural ideas. These buildings conveyed a sense of nomadism, movement, and disposability. Those who favor shipping container buildings like them because of their clever design and the ability to embrace mass consumption in a unique way.
Toronto designer Jason Halter has proposed building an unusual house for an ordinary residential double-lot in inner-city Hamilton, Ontario. The person it was designed for has an iconoclastic style, according to Halter.
The house will have two levels and will be built from eight 40-foot steel containers that were constructed in China and weigh 10,000 pounds each. They will be adapted for residential use at a factory and then transported to Hamilton. The containers will be stacked in a staggered pattern to create deep overhangs that will offer shade and create a rhythm for the design. The steel exteriors of the containers will have high-performance brick-red paint that is used in the aerospace industry. Drought-resistant sedums and grasses will be planted on the roof.
The house will have an interior area of 2,560 square feet divided into 10 rooms, including a large kitchen and living room. It will have spray foam insulation and plywood on the inside walls and floor.
The design is meant to look plain, industrial, and inexpensive. However, building a house from shipping containers is not as cheap as many people believe. A house built from shipping containers does not cost less than a conventional new construction, but it offers style and aesthetic advantages. Shipping container houses are extremely temporary and can be melted down or recycled after they reach the end of their useful life.