Swedish architecture office Wingårdhs has designed an eight-storey residential building constructed entirely from wood in the Stockholm suburb of Sundbyberg.
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With a little bit of imagination (and a lot work), some talented architects have succeeded in designing dwellings made of shipping containers, ranging from off-the-grid guest homes to full time single family homes.
Shipping Container homes have their pros and cons: they are durable and eco-friendly, usually more cost-effective to build than conventional construction, and pre-fab modules can be easily transported by truck. But they also must be well insulated and sealed, as the steel conducts heat and can easily rust.
Here are 22 of the best modern shipping container houses built around the world to consider...
MAPA of Brazil and Uruguay has built a prefabricated modular home and transported it by lorry to a picturesque spot in the countryside outside Porto Alegre.
MAPA built the mobile residence as the prototype for Minimod, a business creating bespoke modular structures; the residential retreat comprises four modules, creating separate areas for sleeping, lounging, dining and bathing within a simple steel-framed structure.
The base of the building is raised off the ground to protect it from rising damp and the roof is covered with plants that integrate a natural system of rainwater harvesting and filtration. The structure was entirely prefabricated before being delivered to its rural location, but MAPA says the buildings can also be transported in pieces and assembled onsite.
The brief was basic: a simple guesthouse for a familyto live while Bohlin Cywinski Jackson designed their main residence. The architect's design for the is instantly legible with a repetition of trusses, windows, and lumber creating a strong linear profile.
A standard, repeatable, four-foot-wide bay makes use of economical, available materials, such as open-web steel trusses, plywood, laminated veneer lumber, and an insulated aluminum window system. The resulting residence is linear, with an open-plan kitchen and living space, 3 bedrooms, and an office with views over the Cascade Range.
This home was designed by the Toronto-based maker of prefab homes, MekaWorld, and is the first container home in New Orleans. It is made up of two shipping containers and has a net living area of 640 square feet.
The compact design has large windows installed on each side, letting plenty of natural light into the house. The windows and sliding doors are double glazed and thermally broken; the house is also designed to withstand winds of up to 130 mph.
The 'Hospital in Puyo' is composed of eight volumes, lined-up next to one another that are separated by lush green gardens.
The county of Puyo in Ecuador has received a new healthcare facility, composed of three rows of eight staggered volumes that are each shaped with the silhouette of a house. The long pavilions are arranged next to one another, and at certain points are physically connected by pitched roof structures from the exterior, with linking hallways along the interior below. Glazing runs along the inner and outer lengths of the walls, offering visitors, patients and staff of the hospital, views of lush green landscaping planted between openings throughout the site. The challenge posed when building the complex was that it needed to be constructed in record time– less than one year– while still emerging as a first-class leading facility for the area. To finish within the time frame, the architects developed a modular architecture, with a high degree of fabrication as seen by the identical nature of the building components.
This series will enter into fierce and competitive prefab market. It is designed to fulfill the energy consuption requirements in nordic countries, even snow load requirements up to 3 kN. Houses are equipped with high standard ventilation systems, full automation and management systems, they are designed to utilize a solar heating during spring and autumn, have shelter from sun during summer months, thus not requiring a cooling system. Used building materials are in most parts wood, walls are vapour permeable and facades are ventilated. Structural frame is made of glulam, walls have rockwool insulation, internal walls are made of cross-laminated-timber panels, windows are wood-aluminium and furniture is either painted or laminated MDF boards.
No Rules Just Architecture has created DOM(E), an prefabricated off-grid home that is an eco-friendly and portable shelter. DOM(E) provides optimal living conditions no matter where it is located and is less expensive than traditional construction, while making the best use of natural energy resources.
DOM(E) can be folded for transport and assembled on-site. Its shape provides for natural ventilation while utilizing an underground duct system for heating and cooling. Solar panels connect to a hot water tank and rainwater collection systems can be made part of the drainage system that surrounds the enclosure.
Find more details and images at the article link.
This prefabricated house for an art collector and his family was built in the outskirts of Santiago in a new suburban residential area. In order to reduce construction time and costs, second hand shipping containers were used as follow: Five 40 “standard containers, Six 20“ standard containers and one 40“ open top container for the swimming pool.
The main purposes of the house were two: the first one was to integrate it to the territory of this part of the city where the presence of the Andes Mountain is extremely strong both visually and tectonically. The second one was to allow the external air to run smoothly and easily through the all house and its different parts In order to avoid mechanical cooling.
Sky City in Changsha, China, will be 2750 feet tall, 220 stories, housing 30,000 people in 4450 apartments, with excavation and construction slated to begin in June, 2013.
Aiming to accommodate a growing population, the skyscraper is considered a "pragmatic" building, designed for efficiency, affordability, replicability.
The Sky City concept significantly reduces the per capita use of land, and the associated CO2 emissions generated, thus providing a means of large-scale development with a significantly lower impact on the environment.
As a result, a resident of Sky City will be using 1/100th the average land per person- learn more about this innovative building concept and its sustainable features at Treehugger.
The itHouse is a design system developed by Taalman Koch that utilizes a series of components prefabricated off-site to better control the construction waste, labor, and quality of the finished product.
Conceived as a small house with glass walls and open floor plan, the itHouse maximizes the relationship of the occupant to the surrounding landscape while minimizing the building’s impact on delicate site conditions.
Energy efficiency is achieved in the itHouse through passive heating and cooling, utilizing site orientation and cross ventilation, radiant floor heating, hi-efficacy appliances & equipment and the use of solar photovoltaic & thermal panels...
Stockholm-based studio claesson koivisto rune have has created 3 sleek typologies for prefabricated homes that draw from the distinctly scandinavian landscape and approach to efficient living.
The 'Tind' residences draw their name from the norwegian word for 'mountain peak', a concept informed by the remarkable lack of sharp pointed peaks in scandinavian mountain systems. The softened edges of the range lend the landscape a particular beauty that finds its way into the architecture in the form of a truncated, single pitch roof. Floor-grazing windows are relegated to major walls and all apertures lie flush with light-drenched interiors. Rather than a perforated volume, the home is a rhythmic composition of built material and void, and despite the various models of kit houses, every interior is organized by a central entrance way or staircase and seeks to blur notions of interior and exterior.
While prefabricated homes have many historical iterations, the architectural integrity of the 'Tind' series is preserved through culturally relevant approaches to living...
Luis Rebelo de Andrade in collaboration with Diogo Aguiar completed the design for seven cozy accommodation units presently known as the “Eco-Resort” and located in Parque de Pedras Salgadas, Portugal.
The original resort was especially envisioned as a serene place for guests to get away and experience nature in its purest form: “Designed in a modular prefabrication system but flexible to adapt to the specific places within the park, these houses result in several different combinations of the same three modules (entrance/bathing – living – sleeping) creating different morphologies and different dialogs with the surrounding environment“.
The interiors of the resort are highly modern and pay tribute to the minimalist style. In other words, functionality is a key factor in the design, although the architecture also ranks high in aesthetics...
Alchemy Architects, a small firm based in St. Paul, MN, has devoted their work to sustainable building practices—often through the process of prefabricated modular designs. By utilizing recycled and reused matters, along with building strategies that reduce waste, Alchemy rethinks the prototypical vacation home by striving for simplicity and minimal use of materials. Their rustic, often oxidized buildings have a way of sitting harmoniously within their settings, while yielding a minimized carbon (and physical) footprint.
To celebrate Earth Day, check out Alchemy's weeHouses, which exemplify the firm's eco-conscious reputation.
Vitra’s carefully curated campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany, contains works by Herzog & de Meuron, Frank Gehry, FAIA, and Jean Prouvé, among other top-tier designers. Now the venerable Swiss furniture company has added a tiny prefab house by Renzo Piano Building Workshop to the mix. In 2013, Vitra unveiled Diogene, a 43-square-foot prototype.
In keeping with the no-frills lifestyle of its ancient Greek namesake, the philosopher Diogenes, the house consists of only one room. A slim, ultra-efficient layer of insulation is sandwiched between the cabin’s wood frame and aluminum skin. “The house is really minimal,” says Vitra project manager Aja Huber. “It’s a life where you have to think, do you want the sofa or the bed?”
This beautiful prefab house called the Mini Mod by MAPA utilizes prefab construction, allowing for the home to be built in a controlled environment, creating less of an impact on the construction site. What you see here is just a version of what can be built, expanded and created using the modular system that MAPA has designed.
A unique prefab house by Sebastian Irarrazaval architects uses recycled shipping containers on a sloped site in Santiago de Chile to create a family home.
To reduce construction time and costs in architecture, the option is quite simple: prefab. In Santiago de Chile there’s a prefabricated house that reinforces this statement by using second hand shipping containers as the main module for the design of this unusual home. The challenge was to adapt these modular pieces to a very sloped site near the Andes Mountains. An ingenious solution was adopted by letting the containers rest on the slope, following the natural topography of the site… hence, the name of the project: Casa Oruga, whichs Caterpillar House.
The prototypes designed for DST Company for the CONCRETA 2003 Exhibition, intend to provide a multiplicity of solutions regarding its purpose. The development of a modular typology that could respond to specific ends such as of temporary housing, environmental observatory, fire outpost, bar, Kiosk, “virtual square” or to a minimum element that could gather the necessary conditions to communicate through IT systems was a priority.
The plan was to produce a module that could be repeated and associated almost endlessly, being at the same time functionally mutable and capable of providing urban conditions through associative forms of its base element.
The benefits of using prefabrication are many, and can result in beautiful homes that function just as well or better than custom ones built on site.
Using modular techniques for construction allows for stronger purchasing power. The process of building on site is also much quicker—and cheaper. Prefabrication is also greener since it uses computer technology to manufacture the modules, which creates 50% to 75% less material waste. The one limitation of prefabrication is that the pieces of the home need to be able to be shipped from the factory to the site of assembly.
But the benefits of prefabrication are many, and can result in beautiful homes that function just as well or better than custom ones built on site.
Check out these 10 examples of prefab architecture at the link.
One Patio House turns a conventional program into a splendid composition of volumes. Positioned in the suburbs of Santiago de Chile, One Patio House materializes a simple and efficient answer to the unique climate and the desired relation between interior and exterior spaces.
Two volumes were developed following a set of opposite concepts: the ground floor volume expresses heaviness while the first floor refers to lightness. Openings also play a crucial role in the game of opposites: the ground volume has huge sliding windows on both long facades while the upper volume contradicts this rule by opening only the wider facades. When it comes to construction process, the difference is quite visible between the two: concrete for the ground floor area, prefabricated steel structures for the upper floor. The interior treatment respects this dual game by revealing the material properties behind each volume: smooth concrete for the flooring of social areas while wood planks are exclusively used in all private rooms. A black steel staircase establishes the necessary bridge between two opposite atmospheres belonging to a single and unique piece of architecture.
An industrialized modular housing prototype that allows growth and changes over time, with all systems installed without complex construction procedures.
Manufactured in specialized factories composing single complete units, including all the interior finishes, modules are the maximum size supported by conventional transport.
Interior partitions, storage and fixed furniture are incorporated to the vertical walls, which house highly qualified technical facilities, automation and electronic systems, tailored to the program for each configuration. The resulting collection provides quality, increased control with regard to construction scheduling, maintenance plans and offers flexibility for future growth.
The principles of sustainable economy and the spirit of recycling guide and support all the project decisions.
California builder Simpatico Homes specializes in modern modular homes, and recently completed a prototype located in Emeryville, in Alameda County, California.
From Swatt | Miers Architects:
“The partnership with Simpatico Homes represents an opportunity for our firm to bring custom-quality architecture to a broader audience through the cost advantages of prefabrication.
The Krubiner Residence, the Simpatico Prototype, is located in Emeryville just a few blocks from our office.
The Simpatico Homes represent a unique opportunity to transform housing, by combining modern design with off-site prefabrication and LEED-certified sustainability.”
The Libeskind Villa is a 2 floor (with full basement), 4 bedroom, 5,000-square-foot signature series home that can be constructed anywhere in the world. The Villa creates a new dialogue between contemporary living and a completely new experience of space.
Built from premium wood and zinc, this German-made, sculptural living space meets the highest standards of design, craftsmanship and sustainability. In addition to the design standards, it meets compliance with some of the toughest energy-saving standards worldwide.
A trio of interlocking architectural bands envelops the Villa in striking angles, creating a dramatic, asymmetrical interior of spiraling, two-story peaks and smooth transitions to secluded terraces. Design details reveal style and functionality: A balcony adjacent to the master bedroom is adorned with elaborate metalwork; light wells direct daylight into a sauna; and recessed wardrobes streamline dressing spaces.
In addition to large floor-to-ceiling windows, the aluminum façade, adorned with mullions and concealed fittings, offers maximum thermal insulation, noise reduction and weather resistance...
The intermittent use of this structure near the Seine estuary, built as a holiday home, strongly influenced the environmental choices of the project. The challenge was to give priority to passive devices and architecture, offering a gain in terms of energy performance, but also for the comfort of the occupants.
The exposure has been a main priority : East-West orientation, oversized opening to the South, natural shades and solar control strategy, North side blind.
Great attention has been given to thermal insulation. Choosing wood slab, and a wood panelling structure insulated from the outside, has allowed us to obtain good levels of insulation and air tightness. Furthermore, the low-thermal-mass building, offered by the wooden structure is interesting in the context of a weekend home, that needs to heat up quickly, for short periods. A wood stove thus is sufficient to heat the home.Finally, the building is based on the dry process framework, with the benefits of prefabrication : quality building, swift assembly, and site protection...