Sustainable Design for the 21st Century

Look what you can do with recycled shipping containers!

By Brent Sauser

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The creative variety of solutions appears limitless when utilizing recycled shipping containers.  I admit I am fascinated with the versatility of shipping containers when used as a structural element.  Not only does it function well as a low cost, readily available construction component, reusing existing shipping containers helps to reduce our clogged ports from an overabundance of unused containers that may never see reuse.  Instead of doing nothing and allowing these structural components to blight our ports and oxidize away, more attention is being focused on how we can integrate shipping containers into our built environment.  So far the integration process has been very successful.  More creative uses for shipping containers can be found all over the United States and abroad.

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This example is of a student housing complex in New Haven, Conn.  It was designed by Christian Salvati and Edsel Ramirez of Marengo Structures and is featured in the February 4, 2014 edition of “Building Design + Construction”.  The apartments cost $360,000 to build, and the lot cost $22,000.  Salvati acknowledged that volume construction would bring down the overall construction costs.   Brought to the site on flatbed trucks and hoisted into place with a crane, the apartment building was assembled in only 4 hours.  The resulting two-story structure utilized six 45 foot long shipping containers.  In order to integrate with the local community character they constructed a front façade for a better aesthetic blend and left the sides and back exposed.   

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The building features two separate apartments.  From the interior one would not suspect being inside shipping containers.  Sheetrock has been placed on the walls and ceiling.  The floors are poured and polished concrete that include a radiant flooring system.  It is heated by baseboard hot water heaters.  Ceiling fans, ventilators, and air conditioning are included for cooling.  The walls are insulated with six inches of soy-based sprayed cellulose.  

For more information regarding this project CLICK HERE.

Category: Editorial
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