Architecture

Shipping containers turned into vacation home for family of five

Shipping containers turned int...
Amagansett Modular
Amagansett Modular was prefabricated and then transported to site and installed in two days
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Amagansett Modular
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Amagansett Modular was prefabricated and then transported to site and installed in two days
Amagansett Modular includes a pool in the garden
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Amagansett Modular includes a pool in the garden
Amagansett Modular has generous glazing installed
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Amagansett Modular has generous glazing installed
Amagansett Modular's large staircase is envisioned as a place for the family to hang out
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Amagansett Modular's large staircase is envisioned as a place for the family to hang out
Amagansett Modular's interior measures 1,800 sq ft (167 sq m)
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Amagansett Modular's interior measures 1,800 sq ft (167 sq m)
Amagansett Modular is located on a wooded site in Amagansett, New York
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Amagansett Modular is located on a wooded site in Amagansett, New York
Amagansett Modular includes four bedrooms
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Amagansett Modular includes four bedrooms
Amagansett Modular was made using shipping containers, though they were heavily modified
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Amagansett Modular was made using shipping containers, though they were heavily modified
Amagansett Modular's bedrooms have generous glazing
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Amagansett Modular's bedrooms have generous glazing
Amagansett Modular consists of a total of six shipping containers
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Amagansett Modular consists of a total of six shipping containers
"Our building was installed in two days; fully completed in two months; and cost significantly and meaningfully less than prevailing building costs," says MB Architecture
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"Our building was installed in two days; fully completed in two months; and cost significantly and meaningfully less than prevailing building costs," says MB Architecture
Amagansett Modular is located on a somewhat awkward triangular wooded site in Amagansett, New York
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Amagansett Modular is located on a somewhat awkward triangular wooded site in Amagansett, New York
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MB Architecture was commissioned to design a vacation home for a family of five on a limited budget. The firm used six shipping containers to create a four bedroom house that it says was significantly more affordable to build than typical construction methods would have been.

The project, named Amagansett Modular, is located on an awkward triangular wooded site in Amagansett, East Hampton, New York. Unfortunately, we've no hard figures available on the budget, though MB Architecture told us that its cost per square foot worked out at roughly 30 percent cheaper than a typical home in the area.

"Based on prior experience, we knew that conventional 'stick-build' construction using local labor would be prohibitively expensive," says the firm. "We suggested prefabricating the building off-site; and use of shipping containers to lower cost, ease transportation, and provide the kind of design experimentation that they were open to. Our past work proved that by streamlining this process, we could achieve significant cost reductions."

Amagansett Modular's interior measures 1,800 sq ft (167 sq m)
Amagansett Modular's interior measures 1,800 sq ft (167 sq m)

Structurally, it consists of a total of five 40 x 8 ft (12 x 2.4 m) containers, plus another smaller 10 x 8 ft (3 x 2.4 m) container, which are heavily modified and laid out so as to preserve an old oak tree that was on the site. The interior measures 1,800 sq ft (167 sq m) and includes four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a kitchen, and living spaces.

The wide staircase serves as an extra seating area. Additionally, one of the bedrooms is separate from the main home and reached by a small corridor. There's also a pool outside – though, alas, it's not a shipping container pool.

Amagansett Modular includes a pool in the garden
Amagansett Modular includes a pool in the garden

We quizzed the firm on how it mitigated the shipping containers' poor energy performance, which is always a concern with these projects, and were told that it meets or exceeds all New York State building codes and is well insulated.

Amagansett Modular was prefabricated and then transported to site and installed in two days, which is pretty fast, though not quite as fast as MB Architecture's previous Bard Media Lab.

Source: MB Architecture

View gallery - 12 images
4 comments
Rustgecko
So they are 30% cheaper than houses in the Hamptons, some of the most expensive real estate in the country....while using shipping containers....no wonder they are uncooperative in giving our exact prices. The same with the thermal insulation - instead of saying that its good and here are the details - they just say "we conform to the law" (ie the minimum level). It seems they are not very proud of their work or they would be more cooperative.
pmshah
I have seen this kind of fully functional accommodation and with all facilities in Germany some 30 years ago. That too stacked 2 high. These were provided to workers on remote locations to completely circumvent the need to commute at all. In fact I saw this also in Cologne at a major construction site.
minivini
I suspect Rustgecko is right. If average custom home construction in my community is around $160/ftsq, and construction cost in East Hampton is $220/ftsq, the cost for this project breaks down to $154/ftsq. No cost benefit. Don’t get me wrong, I love the use of shipping containers for lots of reasons, but I’d be lying if I even suggested cost isn’t one of them.
minivini
Yikes! I just checked the numbers. East Hampton construction cost BEGINS at $300/ftsq and the average is close to $450/ftsq. At a 30% reduction in cost, this would still be DOUBLE the average for my locale!