A new way of living: Container homes

Bethan Jones – homify Bethan Jones – homify
Nemo House, Container Residence, thinkTREE Architects and Partners thinkTREE Architects and Partners Moderne huizen
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The majority of the general population dreams of one day escaping the rent cycle and purchasing their own home. However, the financial burden that it causes initially on some families, means that this desire inevitably turns into an unachievable pipe dream. Here at homify, we're not only bedazzled by expensive villas, but we seek to shed light on affordable housing solutions too. At the end of the day, whether it is 10m² or 10,000m², a house is just four walls that you can call home.

Today, we will be looking into the fascinating world of container homes. This is a style that raises a lot of eyebrows, yet is gaining momentum in the ever-changing world of European architecture and design. An impressive and inexpensive solution to the current housing crisis, you might have begun this article a sceptic, but we hope by the end, you are well and truly converted to the notion of living inside one (or more) of these wonderful steel units. Let's answer a few basic questions first:  

How much does a container cost? 

The cost of a used container can vary greatly. For a 40-foot (12 metre) long container, you can expect to pay between £750 and £2,500, depending of course, on the condition. To convert the steel shell into a home, you could comfortably set your limits between £5,000 and £7,500. There are new containers available for purchase, but it is far more cost effective to acquire one second hand. 

Do I need to insulate the container? 

Sea containers are designed as a cargo vessel in a lightweight steel construction. They consist mainly of stainless steel, which is provided with a protective coating. Therefore, it is essential that insulation is installed, as well as high quality glazing solutions to ensure that a comfortable living temperature in maintained inside for the occupants. 

Where can you set up the container? 

This is something you'll need to check with local councils as there are only regional, and not national codes. With fully prepared documents in tow, check the building code of the respective region. They will have to distinguish first and foremost, if you intend to stay in the shipping containers on a short or long term basis and whether or not the design facilitates these needs.

The container

The German company, Containerbasis, sells containers that were once used for the transport of goods, but are now being converted by architects and designers into housing units. Containerbasis is a known starting point for new and used containers worldwide.

In Germany, few container homes are actually built from old ship containers, with most manufactured as standardized units. For example, there are long-standing containers that meet the energy standards of a passive house.

Level up as required

This brilliant specimen proves that container houses can be both stylish and colourful. For the construction of this unusual house, ordinary 12m x 2m shipping containers were used. The containers can be stacked one on top of the other, so you have wonderfully flexibility with your design. This option is especially useful when it comes to increasing your living space, and is a clever alternative to usual housing construction. 

The interior of this house is also a surprise! With a wooden floor and timber furniture, this container house is in no way typical of a modern family home.

Small, but high

If you're alarmed at the thought of having to leave your home to visit the bathroom, fret not! This is only a washing area, accessible from the outside. The house itself has a living room, bedroom, bathroom and a fully equipped kitchen. The superimposed containers are connected to each other by a filigree staircase.

Furnished micro-apartment

Living in a shipping container doesn't mean you must forego comfort! The architect behind this micro house succeeded in making a 20-ft container an ideal home. In just 13 square metres you'll find a combined living room and bedroom, a bathroom and, if necessary, an integrated workplace. On the 6sqm terrace you can sunbathe, soaking up the view from atop your micro-house – wherever it may be!

Container village

Bauweise, EBA51 EBA51

In Berlin's Treptow-Koepenick exists a special project of disused containers: the container village. Here, students will find cheap but lovingly furnished apartments. In more than 200 containers there are small, single apartments, 2-person flats or living space for up to 3 people. 

By the rust-coloured hue of the facade, the apartments seem at first glance dilapidated and not entirely comfortable. But this material, namely Corten steel, is extremely durable and tough. In addition, it promises good insulation and therefore snug and pleasant living conditions.

Holiday home with a difference

Intrigued by container homes but don't fancy living in one? Then a visit to this extraordinary holiday home is in order! Here, in South Korea, you can casually sample the charms of a container house and decide back at home in peace whether this style is for you. 

One of the best features of this chic, monochrome dwelling is undoubtedly the large windows, which allow natural light to flood in. The furnishings are cool and minimalist, allowing the environment to function instead.

If you've developed a taste for container homes over the course of this article – you're only human. Here's one more to further whet your appetite: The Coolest Container Home You'll Ever See

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