Shipping Container Architecture

Because it is still a relatively new technology, the diverse uses for shipping container units are yet to be exhausted. Initially designed as secure metal transport containers on sea freighters, these devices have evolved to encroach into other sectors aside from regular transport. There sizes and mobility make them ideal in some other areas such as mobile storage units, private work space environment and sometimes as composite stores serving as both the storage facility and retail front. Despite all these remarkable feats, the application of shipping containers as building blocks in shipping container architecture surely takes the cake.

The Basics of Shipping Container Architecture

 Shipping container architecture  is the use of cargo containers as bricks in constructing a predetermined structure. It is a relatively new use for containers, far from their intended purpose but it is slowly gaining popularity amongst the public. With conventional construction material becoming ever more expensive, alternative materials are increasingly being considered in most of the developing world. These containers could prove effective as temporary housing especially in disasters and crisis regions such as war zones. There strength and durability make them secure structures for possible refuge. Considering shipping containers in this manner may stem from the following characteristics they possess:

  1. Manufactured to withstand the harsh humid and salty sea environment, the robustness and durability of shipping containers far surpasses that of regular concrete and mortar or even construction steel.
  2. Designed with the intent to stack up on each other, containers can be precisely fit to create a structure with their combined strength and fortification. They can be arranged much like large-scale Lego pieces.
  3. Shipping_container_architecture is more economical compared to the conventional construction methodology. Building expenses often change from time to time with expenses regularly surpassing budgeted limits. With shipping containers, any alteration a builder would need to make would always be minimal. In addition, their current prevailing costs make shipping container architecture one of the cheapest constructions methods around considering the level of output produced.

In America, a fine example of shipping container architecture is the famous Nomadic Museum. As inference from its name, it is a mobile exhibition studio capable of moving from region to region. It is the first time a studio showcasing art has itself become part of the art. Initially constructed in New York, it was disassembled and moved to California where it was pieced back together showing how truly mobile it is. This art can be considered as the retirement package for container units since recycling would undoubtedly cost a lot more. The ever-increasing numbers of shipping containers deems it necessary to some up with a potential new industry to find a use for them.


Additional Resources for Shipping Container Architecture

Shipping container architecture is well documented online with many websites presenting colorful and ingenious structurally sound techniques employed by various artists and architects to produce wondrous whole buildings. Some of these websites include:

Green movement groups all around the world support container architecture but are forced as well to recognize some of its flaws such as:

  1.  The metallic structures of the containers decays into toxic components for humans thus these containers cannot be considered as long-term housing facilities because to venture to make them such would require much maintenance.
  2. They are extremely limited in terms of temperature regulation being metallic in nature.
  3. They may need rehabilitation before being inhabited; the floor of shipping containers are treated with a mixture of copper and arsenic to suit international standards, and when being converted for human habitation, the wooden floor has to be stripped and treated to avoid contamination.

Perhaps in the near future, shipping container architecture will find a viable home in conventional building on our society providing some much needed low cost  low cost housing.


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