What is a shipping container home?
The name says it all: a shipping container home is a dwelling built using one or more industrial shipping containers. They can be new or used, and when there is more than one, they’re usually stacked on top of each other. When it comes to configurations, they’re like a blank slate. Arranging them is akin to the game Tetris. The layouts can feature containers set next to each other and fused into one giant room, or they can be layered and set perpendicular for a unique and distinctly modern silhouette. With the seemingly endless customization options, shipping container homes are lauded for their stunning and unexpected designs. Combining an industrial aesthetic with minimalist architecture, they are eco-friendly and stylish.
Container homes rise in popularity.
The popularity of homes built from shipping containers started around 2012. One of the first to gain worldwide popularity was the abode of Todd and Di Miller in Brisbane, Australia. After losing their home to flooding, they decided to use containers to build their new dream dwelling called the Graceville Container House. Architecture firm Ziegler Build designed the 6,000-square-foot mansion that features a staggering 31 shipping containers. With them, the house has four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a gym, and art studio.
To make the Miller’s home a reality, the containers were delivered to the site in two batches. The first set of 10 comprised the ground floor of the home, and the rest were laid on top using a crane. Afterwards, the containers were sculpted to resemble a traditional floor plan. The steel was cut away to create windows and rooms; in some instances, the bare bones of a container only remained. Thick steel beams were installed to ensure structural integrity.
It took 24 weeks to construct the massive home, but it was done for only $450K USD. Considering the size and stunning additions—it features an eco saltwater pool—this is an impressive feat. And, it proved a good investment. The family sold the home in 2014 for over twice what it cost to build.
THE GRACEVILLE CONTAINER HOUSE SHOWS WHY SHIPPING CONTAINER HOMES ARE POPULAR.
Price: Shipping container homes are a great bang for your buck and are much more affordable than brick and mortar dwellings. Although the Miller’s nearly-half-million-dollar house is too much for many people to own, other shipping container homes can be built for a fraction of that cost.
Speed of build: A container comes with its structure already in place. You’ve got a ceiling, walls, and floors. Depending on how you’d like to customize it, you could be living in your home in no time.
Flexible location: If you’re into the tiny house trend, a shipping container is the perfect complement—one container can be as wide as 8 feet. With that size, it’s easy to drop on a small plot of land outside of a conventional neighborhood. And if you install solar panels, you’ll be living off-grid.