It might therefore seem slightly ironic that my first example, in what I intend to be a series of posts, should actually be about an exemplary design for a single dwelling, in China.
The WFH House, designed by Copenhagen-based studio, Arcgency is made of three stacked shipping containers. It comes immediately obvious that the containers are used primarily for their structural function, and that there is considerable additional work in both external and internal finishes. There is also a catalogue of other sustainability initiatives, that have little or nothing to do with the genesis of the project as recycling containers. According to the designers, the house was:
”designed to produce more energy than it consumes through the use of upcycled shipping containers as a steel frame, a sustainable bamboo facade, a rainwater collection system, solar cell-clad green roof and permeable paving.”Thinking of the house in this holistic way makes it much easier to appreciate the direct gesture of the big skillion roof, superimposed on the simple support of the three containers. Also thinking beyond the simplistic, one realises that by separating the containers and roofing over the void, nearly half the external surfaces of the shipping containers become the framing of interior walls, rather than exposed to the weather as part of a more pixelated composition. Not only does this produce cheaper volumes of habitable space, but it simplifies reliable weatherproofing, and maximises the chances of a house like this fitting with more conventional neighbours. All of these considerations come legitimately within more subtle sustainability thinking frameworks.
freshome.com, As usual, images of construction and other systems figure less than interior decoration, but patient scrolling down a few screens does have its rewards. To read more, go to the article here.
Next time, an exemplary project by Phooey Architects in Melbourne, Australia, which you cannot mistake for anything but the obsessive use of every bit of the original shipping containers.