Instead of fixating on that perfect property, it’s time to start thinking outside the box in your investment planning – or rather, to start thinking about the box. Used shipping containers are ideal for building a range of industrial-grade facilities on a budget, while still allowing you to keep your options open. Starting with used shipping containers, you can then seek out the perfect niche as an investor.
One viable option for repurposing shipping containers is creating storage facilities; whether that be college students who need to store their junk for summer, or people storing inventory for small businesses, storage facilities or big business.
Used shipping containers are an ideal platform for a storage facility because they protect their contents from the elements, are spacious enough to create numerous small units within, and have a low initial investment. Its significantly less expensive to build a storage facility than it is to build homes on the same property, and the revenues are often greater. Add in the cost savings from using shipping containers, and you’re looking at a health ROI!
Farming and raising livestock are traditional operations that can benefit, financially and logistically from repurposed shipping containers. That’s because these businesses require a lot of room for housing animals, feed and machinery. Building all the individual structures from the ground up can be very costly and time consuming. With shipping containers, however, you can save time and money by introducing sturdy, prefabricated structures to your business, increasing the facilities ROI. And unlike the people who frequent other real estate investments, like hotels or even stores, the animals aren’t very interested in the aesthetics of their housing and surrounds.
With these factors in mind, are you prepared to invest in something different? By considering properties outside typical residential or commercial spaces and developing them with low-cost shipping containers, you can achieve significant returns on your original investment. But these ideas are just scratching the surface of the myriads of alternative ways you can use shipping containers for an investment. Let us know your ideas in the comments section below!
When you think about living or staying in a Container home, you may think that the experience will feel minimalist, cramped, or even like you are “roughing it”. These Container Home owners around the world beg to differ!
Our first Container home we will visit is in Brisbane, Australia. Using over 30 shipping containers to construct this container “mansion”, the architects included 4 bedrooms, a gym and an art studio. While this isn’t your typical container home model, it is a testament to the shipping container as a viable, sturdy, and even luxurious building material. This home cost around $450,000 to build, but was well worth the investment, as the owners eventually sold the house for double the build cost! That’s called smart investing, mate!
The next Container Home we will explore is called The Caterpillar House, located just outside Santiago, Chile. This home was built by world renowned architect, Sebastián Irarrázaval. Constructed out of 12 shipping containers, this house was built to render electronic air conditioning unnecessary. This house uses the cool, natural mountain breeze to pass through the house in a passive cooling system!
The last home on our quick tour is located in Kansas City and was designed by a former toy designer, Debbie Glassberg. She built this house from five shipping containers, with the main goal in mind to show that building out of shipping containers doesn’t have to be super-industrial or minimalist. In fact, it can be playful and quirky. She painted the walls in Tiffany blue, and adorned the ceilings with hand-sculpted tiles!
More than anything, these home designers and architects have shown the versatility of shipping containers and the customization that is possible when you are building your own Container Home! What is on your wishlist for your dream Container Home? Let us know in the comments!
A recent article in the Dallas Morning News tells of a development going up in the neighborhood community of McKinney Texas made completely of shipping containers. The project, initiated by Habitat for Humanity is looking for a solution for low-income residents in the DFW area.
When complete next year, Cotton Groves neighborhood will contain 35 homes made from repurposed shipping containers, a community center and a playground. But first Habitat must raise the 4.5 million required to complete the project.
To make the homes as affordable and low maintenance as possible, each will be outfitted with solar panels on the roof to help keep energy costs low. The exterior walls will use fiber cement siding and reclaimed wood for balcony fascia, as well as thin veneer stone for accent walls. The cantilever roof system has a low slope to aid rainfall drainage and gives an accent to the otherwise boxy-looking exterior.
“It says we are forward-thinking. We are innovative. We are willing to look at something different so that we can maximize a piece of property because property is getting very expensive and very scarce,” says Celeste Haiduk Cox, CEO of North Collin County Habitat for Humanity.
The template uses four 8×40 shipping containers that together equal 1,280 square feet, arranged in a couple different configurations for the different models planned. Each home will feature three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a walkout, a second-floor balcony as well as a covered car port for two vehicles. It takes approximately six to eight weeks to construct this re-imagined version of a modular home.
So far, the organization has received a grant of $877,521 from the McKinney Community Development Corp. to complete engineering designs, construct roadways and lay sewer and waters lines for the largely undeveloped property.
Does this sound like a neighborhood you’d like to live in? Habitat will sell the homes to qualified, low income residents at 30 percent of their gross monthly income. Appraisals will determine the market value of these newly constructed homes, so an estimate for the final cost is still in the works, says Cox.
These days it seems that if you want to realize your dream home, much less create something with the environment in mind, you must be willing to spend a life’s fortune. Yet here are 3 lavish homes that were constructed with extremely low budgets that turned out incredible. Let’s have a look:
Gabriela Calvo and Marco Peralta dreamed of living out in the country on a piece of property they bought just 20 minutes outside San Jose, Costa Rica; where they could be with their horses and enjoy the beautiful landscape. The sunrise and spectacular views were important to them, as well as creating a feeling of comfort and home.
Together with architect Benjamin Garcia, they explored the possibility of creating a home from disregarded shipping containers that would allow them to be debt free and live the life they had imagined.
A roof connecting the two containers, made from scrap pieces of metal, not only creates an internal sensation of openness but also provides a cross ventilation which is surprisingly cool enough to never need air conditioning.
The final cost of the house ($40,000) is lower than the cost of government-assisted housing provided for the poor in Costa Rica. Perhaps this project goes to show that there are viable, low cost, passive alternatives of temperature control for very intense tropical climate.
From the outside it may not look as ornate as some of the others, but a quick look inside this house will certainly impress. This home, located in Ila Spain, was built utilizing four 40-foot containers for about $190,000. It includes a lavish kitchen, two bedrooms, a massive open living space with large, picturesque windows throughout. Even the landscaping is top-notch.
The home was designed to face the south and the imposing view of the valley and nearby mountains, while also receiving the direct heat of the sun in winter to heat the home. Large trees around the exterior provide cooling shade during the summer. Given the family’s low budget and taking advantage of the brutalist beauty of the containers, this home uses this aesthetic to maximize this natural heating system.
The construction was based on a modular concept, with all prefabrication done in a workshop that allowed limited pollution on site. The design also allows for extensions in case the space needs of the client change over time.
An art studio made of recycled shipping containers in Amagansett New York was built on a budget of just $60,000. This homeowner needed a space close to her home that would be both inviting and reflective.
MB Architects’ solution was to use two 40-foot shipping containers perched over a 9’ foundation wall/cellar. By cutting 75% of one of the container’s floor, they were able to move the painting studio to a lower level via a wide staircase, while a high ceiling gives a deceivingly spacious feel. The staircase also serves as a transitional space for viewing artwork, while the upper floor provides a more intimate work and sitting area.
The containers were painted dark charcoal to maintain continuity with the original house and to recede in the shadows of a densely wooded site.
It’s all the rage these days: decrease your carbon footprint, simplify your existence, go eco-friendly. Yet is it just a fad? These two families sought a simpler lifestyle by downsizing their homes. Let’s see what they have in common…
The Longneckers were living the American dream, with plenty of material items and a giant home to boot. Yet they found themselves wanting more–or rather less. A desire for adventure and spending more time together prompted this family to sell the home and much of their possessions.
A shiny 1972 Airstream Sovereign was the perfect solution for their sustainable dreams. In just six months, the couple transformed the vintage home on wheels into an off-grid living space, complete with plentiful storage, modern décor and a workshop.
Despite its 220-square foot size, the trailer is fully functional for the family of six. The kids have fold-down bunk beds, which can be changed into two couches. A luxurious kitchen and dinette allow the family to eat and cook together, and at night, with just a few maneuvers, the dinette can easily convert into a king-size bed.
Now, the Longneckers live and work wherever they feel the need to explore, with all the comforts of a single-family home in a sustainable “adventure mobile.”
Matt & Ilse Heeringa of Hawk’s Bay New Zealand were living in a 5,000 square foot home complete with swimming pool and tennis court. Yet they found themselves buried under the constant maintenance required to keep their home and gardens intact. They were so busy keeping up their home, they had no time to spend together as a family!
After selling their large home, the family purchased two used shipping containers and set off on a trek to make them into a home. Placing the containers side by side and opening-up the two halves enables the space to have a deceivingly spacious feel. A galley kitchen runs the entire length of one container and a large living space gives this family of 5 the space they need to spend time together.
Solar Panels placed on the roof produce all the energy required for the home, while a custom rain collection system and compostable toilets all work together to make this home the eco-conscious haven it was intended to be.
What about you? Is your large home secluding you from spending time together as a family? Thinking of downsizing into a more efficient home? Let’s get this conversation started…shoot us an email or write us in the comments below. Cheers to a simpler life!
When classroom space was becoming limited at Bard College in New York’s Hudson Valley, representatives from the school looked to MB Architecture for a fast, effective fix. By utilizing prefabricated structures based out of 4 retrofitted shipping containers, the architects were able to design and deliver just that.
“The budget required that we explore options beyond conventional construction,” said MB architects. The project arose out of a grant of only $100,000 and was prefabricated, delivered and installed in half a day at a cost of slightly over $200,00. What’s more, is the structure was fully operational just a few days later!
The design stems from MB Architecture’s prototype prefabricated Insta House – a two story home (also based out of 4 modified containers) with a bedroom upstairs and a main living area on the ground floor, built in the Hamptons in 2009.
The new Media Lab on the middle of campus exemplifies the speed and efficiency of prefab cargotecture. Built double wide and double tall, the boxy two-floor building offers 960 square feet of adaptable meeting spaces and performance areas for the Department of Experimental Humanities.
Following assembly, the team, directed by lead architect Maziar Behrooz, added trim boards between the upper and lower floors and connected the electrical and plumbing lines to the site utilities.
The architects expressed the multiple functions of the Media Lab through designing flexible and open-plan spaces that cater to meetings, lectures, workshops, performances and more. A glazed garage-style door swings up to open the double-height main room to the quad, while also creating a stage for concerts and theatrical events.
Large windows and doors were installed to allow-in copious amounts of natural light while also framing campus views.
While reconfigurable furniture includes chair seating for up to 16 people, the stairs can also be used as auditorium-like seating for lectures. The downstairs space of the Media Lab is open for reservations to the Bard community, and offers a variety of products, including sound recording equipment and a television.
Bard’s example of urgent space requirements only goes a little way to exemplify the many uses of shipping container construction. Since the installation of the Media Lab, other universities have considered the container route for educational spaces as well as student housing. The possibilities are endless.
Got ideas? Shoot us an email or reply in the comment section below…we’d love to hear from you!
Think you’ve heard all the ways that a shipping container can be repurposed?
Well think again. This year, in Abu Dhabi, in a city-wide effort to promote public transportation usage, the Department of Transportation has approved construction for 100 air-conditioned bus shelters. 30 are already in use and 20 of them are recycled shipping containers.
All the new units will have a refreshed design with geometric patterns, outdoor shading and seats, bus timetables, bins for regular and recyclable waste, a QR (quick response) code panel that enables connection to bus routs and top-up machines for hafilat cards.
“The idea is to improve the quality of the public transport service,” said Ahmed Al Mazrouei advisor to the chairman of the department.
The government also believes that encouraging people to use the public services will help with traffic congestion problems the city has been facing on a massive scale.
The news has come as a relief to hard-pressed users of public transport. Concerns have recently been raised about the lack of shelters in many areas and the fact that the air-conditioning systems often break in the summer heat. This move comes partly in response to that, but also as part of a broader plan to upgrade the system.
Some of the bus shelters reflect the identity of their neighborhoods. For example, a new unit near Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has been painted white to mirror the famous place of worship. The new units have also dispensed with the large advertising sign common on the top of old shelters and instead have ads down the sides.
“The project reflects the aspirations of the leadership to establish a modern transport infrastructure and a sustainable living environment in the emirate of Abu Dhabi,” said Mr. Al Mazrouei.
Why use shipping containers for the bus shelters? The containers have been selected due to their high capacity and fast installation, especially in the city’s high demand areas. And they also have an added value reflected by their comparably low cost of entry.
Innovation in the way of shipping architecture is just getting started! What are some other interesting ways we can use shipping containers to revolutionize our lives? Leave your ideas in the comments!
It turns out, the answer to this question is not so simple. Since the shipping container has been around since the 1950’s (learn more about the history of shipping containers on our last blog post), there have been many other creative uses of the shipping container documented in the last 60 years! Continue reading