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