James Whitaker designed an office made of jutting shipping containers a few years ago. The structure was never built, until a Los Angeles-based film producer stumbled upon the design online. He commissioned Whitaker to make him a solar-powered house based on the original office design in Joshua Tree, California. Although the home has not been built yet, it’s due to start construction in 2018.
Whitaker is not only a trained architect, but he is also a photographer and digital artist. He “uses a computer to create photographs of things that don’t exist.”
The home is planned to be built on a rugged mountainside plot measuring 90 acres. It’s interior will consist of a total floorspace of 2,152 square feet. The original design has been altered to be more fitting for a home and the containers will be angled depending on the room to either maximize the view or ensure privacy.
The interior of the home will include three bedrooms, en-suite bathrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, and a living room. Additionally, the garage will have solar panels on the roof that will power the home.
The shipping container residence brings up concerns of the containers’ heat performance in the hot desert climate. While steel, with a 90% recycled content, may be the most recycled material on the planet, a home made of multiple steel boxes is sure to get uncomfortably hot inside.
When asked about the measures that would be taken to ensure the home would stay cool, Whitaker told New Atlas, “A combination of light paint color on the outside to reflect the heat, and high performing insulation will be used to reduce heat again. The windows at the top of the building will swing open to allow hot air to naturally vent out and then finally there will be some air conditioning that will be powered by solar panels.”
Steel shipping container homes and other structures are becoming increasingly popular around the world.
For instance, in Anyang, South Korea there is a 2,600–square–foot school made entirely from shipping containers and Johannesburg has a 75,000–square–foot high rise from them. Not only that, but there is an entire community of shipping container homes in Wilmington, N.C., a project known as the “Cargo District.”
The increasing amount of shipping container structures might suggest that these containers may be the innovation that makes construction of homes and buildings not only easier, but more affordable.