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As international trade booms, shipping containers continue to pile up in almost all the parts of the world.

They pose a challenge when it comes to disposal with only a fraction of them ever making their way back to their original shipper.

They consume a lot of storage space and landfills which makes them a burden once they have been used. Builders and architects have come up with a fantastic way of utilizing this in-excess resource to provide cheap shelter while solving the disposal problem.

Lauded as “the next evolution” by building specialists (http://www.cbsnews.com/media/7-homes-built-with-shipping-containers/2/ ), up-cycling used shipping containers into habitable structures is not a novel idea. These boxes have long been adapted into stores and housing in less developed nations. It’s only recently that this trend has picked up pace in wealthier nations creating a new niche in building and construction.

High level architects are now experimenting with these “lego-like” structures to come up with modern eco-friendly houses at a reduced cost.

The decade has seen construction of numerous container homesall over the world as the new trend gains momentum. Some of the houses that have stood out this year are:

Manifesto House

Located in Curacavi Chile, the Manifesto house is a two-storey, 1,700-square-foot house constructed from 85% recycled materials. It is made out of three shipping containers, recycled wood pallets and insulation made from the cellulose of unread newspapers. It took James and Mau Arquitectura less than 90 days and a budget of less than $120,000 dollars to complete.

The designers added two “skins” to the structure; recycled wooden pallets on one side and wooden panels on the other. The pallets can be opened during winter to help heat the house and closed during summer to provide insulation.

Redondo Beach House

The Redondo Beach house proves that shipping containers can also be used to construct homes on prime property. Located on a $1 million beachfront property in Redondo, California, this two-storey building is constructed from eight up-cycled steel shipping containers. The house has four beds and baths and a lap pool (also made from a shipping container) in the backyard.

Caterpillar house

This is yet another beauty from Chile, this time from the Andes Mountains in Santiago. This house got its name from the support “legs” seen sticking out from beneath the main building. The containers are rested on one slope of the mountain and blended into it.

The architect, SebastiánIrarrázaval, build this almost 4,000- square-foot home from six 20-foot containers and five 40-foot containers. He used an extra 40-foot open top container for the pool.

Shipping containers are gaining popularity in construction because:

1.    They are readily available at affordable prices.
2.    The houses are quick to assemble with most of the modifications being done offsite.
3.    They are environmentally friendly.
4.    They are durable.

Sources:

http://www.cbsnews.com/media/7-homes-built-with-shipping-containers/2/
http://www.cbsnews.com/media/7-homes-built-with-shipping-containers/4/
http://www.cbsnews.com/media/7-homes-built-with-shipping-containers/10/
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-14/shipping-containers-become-family-homes-in-qld/5594602
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/social-housing-project-in-bc-pushes-limits-of-container-homes/article22175009/


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