If You Build it They Will Come
February 23, 2013
Life in a shipping container; does it sound bleak to you? For some people, it can conjure up for images of stowing away, like a piece of cargo. Luckily, you’re not some people! Shipping containers can be spacious, airy, light, welcoming, temperature-controlled, and beautiful. They can be spaces that you want to escape to, not from. It’s all in the details. Some people see a steel box; others see a blank canvas upon which anything is possible.
Anything is possible when you have a shipping container, the right equipment, and the know how to transform various materials safely and efficiently. Virtually any architectural element or detail that can be incorporated in wood, brick, stone, and other traditional building materials can be done with shipping containers. These include – but are not limited to:
- Windows. From strictly functional to decorative, windows are key in creating livable, aesthetically pleasing spaces. Container City in London has fun circle windows that evoke a porthole feel, which ties in nicely with the containers’ sea faring history. Other container structures have floor-to-ceiling glass. Anything is possible.
- Skylights. To add yet more light and openness, designers and architects can add skylights to shipping containers.
- Doors. Cargo doors are already part of the design, but if you choose, you can certainly add doors of your choosing. Rollup doors can create an industrial-chic feel, and you can choose traditional wooden or steel styles, just as you would for a “regular” house.
- Shelving. This is a pretty easy one. Shipping containers have D-rings from which you can install a variety of shelving options. No modifications are necessary. And if you plan on doing drywall, you can hang traditional shelving.
- Finish work. With finish work, such as insulation, drywall, arches, and flooring, you won’t be able to tell you’re in a shipping container at all. After the finish work is, well, finished, you have a clean canvas to create your style.
- Electrical work. All the comforts of home or office can be installed in containers. Lighting, outlets, phone, and data receptacles can easily be wired into your container.
- Heating and cooling. You can install window air-conditioning units, HVAC systems, and exhaust and ventilation fans. Controlling the temperature in your container is easy and efficient.
- High ceilings and multiple levels . Shipping containers are like giant building blocks. You can stack them in a number of different ways and modify them. Soaring ceilings are no problem, nor is a multi-level structure.
- Solar power. Container architecture helps reduce our impact on the environment by allowing us to build with existing materials. To further cut our footprint, containers can use solar-power for its electrical, data, heating, and cooling needs. Also, these are great spots for rooftop and vertical gardens, which can help with cooling, air quality, and aesthetics.
- Porches, decks, and awnings. All of these elements, which increase the livability, value, and aesthetics of any house, can be incorporated with ease.
The beauty of shipping containers is that they can accommodate the same types of architectural elements and details as traditional buildings, but they have their own unique style and feel. They can really be made to reflect the tastes and needs of their owners. Whether building a unique brand experience for trade show attendees, a workspace for your company, or a dream home for yourself, the possibilities of Shipping Container Architecture have no limits.