Re-Use of Shipping Containers

Isn’t it good to know that the shipping industry is playing a role in recycling natural resources? While the thought of reusing shipping containers for emergency housing after a natural disaster caught the imaginings of 8th graders I worked with in a recent “Future City” contest proposal, DeMaria Design has brought the concept into reality. DeMaria’s hybrid design for a Redondo Beach container house uses conventional stick-frame construction combined with eight repurposed steel shipping containers to form a two-story home.

“For me as an architect, the challenge has always been how to give my clients the highest level of design while still keeping the projects on budget,” says Peter DeMaria, one of the country’s first architects to incorporate steel cargo containers into residential designs. His Redondo Beach container house, located in Southern California, won the American Institute of Architecture’s Excellence in Design Innovation Award in 2007.

DeMaria tells me that the shipping containers were purchased locally from a Los Angeles area supplier with consideration given to original fabrication, age, condition, and even the previous cargo shipped within the container.

The containers were retrofitted off-site, before being assembled on-site to help further reduce labor costs during installation.

With the large number of shipping operations located around the New York/New Jersey area, this technique may be a worthy consideration in the re-building of the eastern sea board communities affected by Hurricane Sandy.

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