Architecture In A Can
Who would have ever thought of re-using old shipping containers for anything other than its intended purpose of storage?
Shipping container architecture is a form of architecture using shipping containers as the primary structural element because of their strength, availability, and low expense. The advantages such as the inherent strength and durability, standard size, availability, expense and ease of transportation make it very attractive for various uses including clinics, temporary and permanent housing, retail space, storm shelters, research labs, and mobile workshops. Thought the advantages are great, there are disadvantages such as temperature, humidity, labor, and general safety.
As you can imagine, it would be almost impossible to reside within a steel container due to its high conductivity of heat, especially in temperate climates with extreme temperature variations making it a necessity for the containers to be well insulated. The humidity aspect would also be due the high heat issue and would be resolved once the unit is properly insulated. Labor is a relative disadvantage in that it is usually specialized labor that is required to work with these units due to the cutting and welding need to make most changes. This can cause the price of the finished product to be very high, but still relatively cheaper than finished homes made of other materials. The greatest concern I found is safety because of the various materials shipping containers carry. There could be spillage of very hazardous material that normal cleaning might remove from the surface, but remains beyond the naked eye. This can be avoided by having it cleaned thoroughly as well as having them chemically scanned for anything harmful. Another possible solution to this problem might only allow the sale of containers that are known for shipping non-hazardous materials.
I find this type of architecture to be very innovative and sustainable. It addresses various types of modern concerns with one simple and affordable solution. This is especially relevant in developing nations and disaster relief sites where these types of homes, clinics, and mobile workstations can be a boon due to the fact that they are almost disaster proof.