Shipping Container Architecture

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Shipping Container Architecture

Transcript of Shipping Container Architecture


2. NICHOLAS SOCRATESIntroductionThere is growing interest in the use of shippingcontainers as the basis for habitable structures.These icons of globalization are relativelyinexpensive, structurally sound and in abundantsupply. Although, in raw form, containers are darkwindowless boxes (which might place them at oddswith some of the tenets of modernist design...) theycan be highly customizable modular elements of alarger structure.2 3. Shipping Containers as Building Components for Home Construction. No two building projects are the same.Even with modular kit applications, variations due to location and climate, site factors such as grading and slope, and home owner preferences (to name a few factors) create substantial differences between projects. Thereis no single perfect shipping container home design solution, and the mostimportant thing in any home building project is preparation. Preparation, preparation, preparation. Ever hear the old carpenters axiom measure twice,cut once? Did we mention preparation is important?3 4. There are what to do and how to doit articles for container home and noncontainer home applications. Bear in mind,that a shipping container house is just a smallsteel building and much of the information/detailing of steel buildings (and woodframed as well) is applicable and relevant toshipping container home building as well.The details of the steps and stages requireto turn recycled shipping containers intoshipping container homes and buildings.Including (but not limited to) feasibility,budgeting, scheme design, technicalhurdles, site concerns, foundation, envelope,modifying structure, passive enhancements,construction documents, and permitting.Many are looking to containers today for theirbuilding projects.4 5. Conceive It. Establish planning and design goals. Define and evaluate space requirements. Review benchmark standards, codes, and guidelines. 90% of good architectural design is planning - knowing what you want from your home, what you can afford budget wise, and what the external factors (site, code, costs, etc..) are. Preparation is an important part of the design process. As you start to design your shipping container home, the limitations brought about by site, code, and budget can serve to inform many of the necessary design decisions along the way. Being aware of these issues and how they could potentially impact (productively or negatively) the design and budget, will keep the design economical and efficient. And buildable.This is a critical phase where expectations are set, andbudget ceilings determined. The primary objective isto establish a conceptual design with input from design professionals, potential contractors, modular suppliers,and material/equipment suppliers. A comprehensive budget and schedule are also developed so a trueprofile of scope, budget and risk can be understood and assessed early on.5 6. Container Architecture6 7. Concern yourself with big picture issues. Like, canyou build a house(s) on the land/site, and what is the maximum square footage you can build. It is also important to get a list of what drawings, permits andinspections, including fees, will be required. Find outwhat drawings must be professionally stamped as well. You should also check if their are any deed restrictions on your title. Some jurisdictions dictate zoning andplanning in deeds, especially subdivisions. This is a critical phase where expectations are set, and budget ceilings determined. The primary objective is to establish a conceptual design with input from design professionals, potential contractors, modular suppliers, and material/ equipment suppliers. A comprehensive budget and schedule are also developed so a true profile of scope, budget and risk can be understood and assessed early on. 7 8. Passive vs. Active heating and cooling There are two types of building designs. Those that embrace the site, and those that impose themselves on the site. The house pictured above on the left is Frank Lloyd Wrights solar hemicycle Jacobs house. The house on the right is Mies van der Rohes Farnsworth house. Both are icons of 20th century modern architecture built/designed by masters. They are both comparative in size, use, and initial project budget. The maintenance and yearly energy expense for the two however, are substantially different. The contrast is due to the buildings different shapes, orientations, and wall/ surface materials. 8 9. Picking where to build on siteThere are many factors to consider including grade, soil bearing,existing landscaping, potential views, and proximity to easements/site boundaries/roads. Generally speaking, if soil bearing capacity isconsistent throughout the site, flat/level areas are best suited. Theyrequire less grading/excavation, and allow for the most economicalfoundation designs for shipping container homes.9 10. Landscaping and shading are very effective passive design strategies. When youconsiderwhere to locate your house/ building on site try to take advantage of as much existinggreeneryas possible. The location of dense, coniferous trees on the elevation against the prevailing wind (usually west or northwest) may decrease heat loss due to infiltration and wind chill factor in the winter. Sites with deciduous shade trees can reduce summer solar gain if positioned properly on the south and west elevations of the buildings.10 11. Views and privacy willalso be important thingsto consider. Every siteis different and has itsown potentials.If youdont already have a landsurvey of the site, itsprobably a good time toget one done. Theyre fullof relevant informationand could bring thingsto your attention (likeeasements andutilityaccesslocations)thatyoure unaware of. If youare lucky you receivedone when you purchasedthe land or will be able toget one from the recordfiles of your buildingdepartment. 11 12. Approach You should have a good sense of your site, your budget, and a rough conceptual design for your shipping container home.12 13. Designing Your Shipping Container Home Finalize building location on site. Remember,flat sites are best as they require minimumexcavation and grading. If you are planning a buildwhich consists of more than one container, you should talk with an engineer or contractor early.Foundation costs are potentially very expensive, especially if the bearing capacity of the soil is poor or land substantially sloped. 13 14. Drawings and DocumentationThe drawings of a typical homeconstruction project evolve through eachof the design milestones - Conceptual/Scheme Design, Design Development,Permitting,andBid/ConstructionDocuments.Conceptual/SchemeDesign and Design Developmentdrawings are important to develop thenecessary design, floor plans, elevations,and the budget square footage takeoffs.Typically, they are a communication toolbetween the designer and client as theyvet through the design of the home. Ifyou are the designer, you will developthese drawings loosely yourself as yououtline/document the design. You canuse hand sketches or utilize one of themany consumer modeling and draftingapplications. But, they are for your ownreference and not necessary for filing.14 15. Permitting DrawingsIf for what every reason you are notsubject to any building department/jurisdictional approval (very rare)you will not need to assemble aPermitting Drawing set. If you are,which is most cases, first thing to dois call the building department andget a permitting submittal checklist.Things typically required will beplans (site, foundation, floors, androof), elevations, land survey, watertreatment (septic and run-off), energycode compliance, structural drawings,and soils report. Also make sure tocheck which of these documents willneed to be stamped by a licensedprofessional. 15 16. Build StrategyRegardless if you are going to bid the project out to generalcontractors (GC) or build yourself, you should speak with asmany potential GCs as possible throughout the design process.Having done this prior to bidding the project will do three things;help get accurate pricing for budget development, assemble alist of general contractors to bid competitively for the project(if you are not building yourself), and problem solve the design.If you go the GC route, there are fundamentally three projectdelivery methods: Design/Bid/Build, Construction Management,and Design/Build.The different methods are distinguishedby the way the contracts between the Owner, the Architect (ifthere is one), and the Contractor/Factory are formed and thetechnical relationships that evolve between each party insidethose contracts. Typically, there is no single best method for allprojects, and no method delivers fastest, cheapest, and highestquality simultaneously. What distinguishes each is the amount ofdesign information and drawings available prior to constructionand whether the build price is fixed or relative to actual costs.16 17. The design and manufacturing of shipping container homesis a viable alternative to conventional construction for manyreasons, but despite a strong showing of successful containerprojects, building with shipping containers is still in its earlystages. From the design perspective, there are many designentities with Kit shipping container home offerings. Thesehowever, are very far from turnkey. Virtual none of thedesign entities have shop/manufacturing capabilities. Theones that do, have very small custom shops with limitedoutput which is highly customized and high in price. Fromthe manufacturing perspective, there are more and morefactories/companies building with containers. Typically, theyhave a stock catalogue of very base shipping container homedesigns to purchase turnkey. Some can provide customizedsolutions (design to your specs), at higher cost points. 17 18. FoundationsBuilding a house is no small feet. Even a small one. There are thousands ofmaterials, p