An interesting housing trend which has been gaining traction over the last several years is using shipping containers to build houses. A shipping container is a standardized, reusable steel box used to ship and move goods and materials. The shipping lifespan of a shipping container is limited, and afterwards they are sometimes used for more permanent storage. Sizes vary from 8 to 56 feet long and 8 to 9.5 feet high. Since disposing of a container, which is typically made of about 8,000 lbs of steel, can be costly and difficult, repurposing them has become an increasingly attractive option.
If used in housing, the container (or containers!) typically forms the basis of the structure and is modified with doors, windows, and other building materials which help create the appearance of a more traditional home. However it is not uncommon in more industrialized, temporary environments (like military camps or construction sites) for the container to be modified to accommodate some creature comforts (like air conditioning and a toilet) but basically left as-is.
Because shipping containers are relatively inexpensive (in comparison to the labor and materials involved in a custom-built home), utilizing shipping containers as a structural element has become an economical and environmentally conscious option for many home builders. When approached as a more long-term, permanent dwelling, many architects can design shipping container homes that are comfortable, stylish, and accommodating.
For more examples, this website shows a lovely little cabin made from three shipping containers, and this one has pictures from many beautiful homes. Apparently Bob Vila is on board with the trend, and his website even lists some instructions for how to build a home with shipping containers, here.
Would you live in a home built out of shipping containers? What would be your main concern?