Ships specially designed to carry containers revolutionised trade by sea. Now these standardised metal boxes are making a big splash in the world of architecture as ready-made modules which just need customising. There is even a word for it – Cargotecture. Would you feel At Home in one of these striking buildings?
Copenhagen is one of the world’s most expensive cities so local company CPH Shelter has come up with an eco-friendly, plug and play design which uses recycled shipping containers to create homes which can be easily moved and installed pretty much anywhere in the world.
When French architecture firm 2A Design was commissioned to design a small home on a tight budget, they turned to cargotecture as a low-cost solution that wouldn’t sacrifice style. Located in the French village of Orgères, near Rennes, the angular white building, called the Flying Box house, was put up in just three months and looks pretty cool.
Talking about pretty cool – how about this star burst design by James Whittaker, for a wealthy client in the Californian desert. The Joshua Tree Residence may look eccentric, but its sculptural appearance is actually right in tune here, where people often commission unusual-looking homes.
Cargotecture has been a real success for more commercial projects too. This is the cosy and popular Unit Café in Kiev, Ukraine – made from 14 shipping containers by TSEH Architectural Group.
The Australian wine company Brown Brothers thought that what their customers needed with their glass of wine in Hazards Vineyard was a jolly nice view. They commissioned this extraordinary tower, made primarily from repurposed containers, from architects Cumulus Studio.
The National Theatre Company of Korea (NTCK) commissioned Urbantainer to create a visitor area that would serve as a social space within the grounds. To integrate the new space with the existing buildings, the designers aligned the containers with the building axis and painted them the same shade of red as the NTCK logo. Looks really vibrant.
Looking for somewhere cheap but interesting to stay? A hostel in Vietnam’s famous seaside resort-town of Nha Trang is setting itself apart from its competition by transforming recycled containers into lodging. TAK Architects’ recently completed Ccasa Hostel features three stacked shipping containers converted into dormitory rooms. The architects retained the containers’ industrial look, which gives the hostel an edgy, modern vibe.
And its not just about small projects either. Designed by local firm Urbantainer this 5,300-square-meter pop-up mall in Seoul was constructed from 200 large modular containers and can be easily modified, moved, or dismantled as needed.
How far can cargotecture go? CRG Architects have proposed a solution to Mumbai’s chronic housing shortage with two slightly twisting cylinder-shaped towers made of stacked containers. Both structures, called “Containscrapers,” would respond to specific site topologies and provide more facade surface to all living units by rotating the position of the containers by 90 degrees. They don’t appeal to me – rather like a terrifying game of Jenga.
But, at the right price I could grow to like this place. Built for a French artist ‘Un Dernier Voyage’ is set in the French countryside and functions as a simple home full of artwork and a studio. Fancy something similar?
Here’s how it is laid out,
and it’s not bad inside.