Monday, February 21, 2011

Latest Housing Trend?

Reusing Old Shipping Containers

A shipping container converted into a living space, Lara Swimmer

Feb. 21, 2011 - Anne Adriance thought her architect was kidding. She couldn't fathom the idea of building a 3,000-sq.-ft. (280 sq m) coastal retreat in Maine out of cargo containers. Yes, the same rectangular shipping containers that you see piled high in ports worldwide are being recycled as homes, office buildings and even traveling museum exhibits. Architectural use of the containers doubled in 2010 compared with the previous year, according to Barry Naef, founder of the Intermodal Steel Building Units Association. And the trend — dubbed "cargotecture" by Seattle architect Joel Egan — is being fueled partly by sustainability but mostly by sassy artistic sensibility.

"It really cuts across all types of thinking and starts your imagination," says Adriance's New Jersey–based architect, Adam Kalkin, whose cargotecture projects include creating mobile museums for UNESCO to use in Africa. The steel boxes can be found everywhere from Miami's posh Art Basel show to a 50-container apartment complex in Salt Lake City, and are being considered as a possible source of disaster-relief housing. {continued}

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