Architecture

Building design incorporates 65 shipping containers

A Los Angeles design firm has proposed using 65 shipping containers to build an environmental education center in the city of Long Beach (Image: APHIDoIDEA)
A Los Angeles design firm has proposed using 65 shipping containers to build an environmental education center in the city of Long Beach (Image: APHIDoIDEA)
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A Los Angeles design firm has proposed using 65 shipping containers to build an environmental education center in the city of Long Beach (Image: APHIDoIDEA)
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A Los Angeles design firm has proposed using 65 shipping containers to build an environmental education center in the city of Long Beach (Image: APHIDoIDEA)
A Los Angeles design firm has proposed using 65 shipping containers to build an environmental education center in the city of Long Beach (Image: APHIDoIDEA)
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A Los Angeles design firm has proposed using 65 shipping containers to build an environmental education center in the city of Long Beach (Image: APHIDoIDEA)
The proposed construction process for the eCORRE Complex (Image: APHIDoIDEA)
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The proposed construction process for the eCORRE Complex (Image: APHIDoIDEA)
A rooftop garden would be one of the features of the eCORRE Complex (Image: APHIDoIDEA)
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A rooftop garden would be one of the features of the eCORRE Complex (Image: APHIDoIDEA)
The eCORRE Complex would also serve as a community center, hosting public events (Image: APHIDoIDEA)
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The eCORRE Complex would also serve as a community center, hosting public events (Image: APHIDoIDEA)
A Los Angeles design firm has proposed using 65 shipping containers to build an environmental education center in the city of Long Beach (Image: APHIDoIDEA)
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A Los Angeles design firm has proposed using 65 shipping containers to build an environmental education center in the city of Long Beach (Image: APHIDoIDEA)

Because they are sturdy, waterproof, transportable, and perhaps only a little bit smaller than some low-rent apartments, disused shipping containers have become very popular for conversion into low-impact buildings. Past efforts have included using them as emergency housing, trendy relocatable bachelor pads, and portable restaurants. Now, Los Angeles design group APHIDoIDEA has proposed putting 65 of the things together, to create an environmental education center for the city of Long Beach.

The eCORRE (Environmental Center of Regenerative Research & Education) Complex would provide the public with information on topics such as solar energy, water collection, interior daylighting, rooftop gardens, passive cooling techniques, and reuse of grey water. The building itself would consist of classrooms, offices, an exhibition hall, and a public plaza. On the outside, it would also feature an open amphitheater, and - practicing what it preaches - a rooftop garden incorporating a rainwater collection system.

In order to create the building, the shipping containers would first be stacked together in a two-row rectangle. The middle of that rectangle would then be raised up in an arch, to create the plaza underneath it. The two rows would then be separated, to allow access to the inside of the containers. Finally, the arched containers would be angled toward the Sun, to maximize solar gain - some of them would be glass-fronted.

It should be noted that while the outer shells of the containers would form the walls and roof of the complex, the rooms themselves would not all consist of single containers. That said, however, systems such as power and water could be contained within individual containers, and essentially "plugged in" to the complex.

The proposed construction process for the eCORRE Complex (Image: APHIDoIDEA)
The proposed construction process for the eCORRE Complex (Image: APHIDoIDEA)

The use of shipping containers is appropriate for Long Beach, as the city is home to the world's second-busiest port. While it's still not known if the eCORRE Complex will ever be built, APHIDoIDEA's design was a finalist in the U.S. Green Building Council's ETDC 2011 Emerging Talent Design Competition.

Source: Inhabitat

17 comments
abe
I never understood these articles. I assume shipping container are re-used. Pure metal, so they are very recyclable. Why would you want to build ANYTHING our of used steel, you are just causing the market to mine more steel. All of these areticles ASSUME that you need to do something with used containers, but never explain WHY. ANYONE?
Slowburn
It looks like an inefficient us of steel to me.
Facebook User
Dumbest things I\'ve ever seen.
Slowburn
abe - June 29, 2011 @ 06:10 pm PDT---- It is currently cheaper for China to build new shipping containers than it is to ship empty containers back to China.
Andrew Rockefeller
I have to agree with Abe on this one. Typically shipping container designs are an excellent proposition for third world housing solutions. In this case however, I think the obvious necessity of additional structural steel negates any positive benfit of the reuse of the containers. You\'d be better off just designing the structure you need, then strip containers and use resulting panels for cladding. The design reeks of placing an importance on trying to look more eco than actually being eco. All that said, the design would be somewhat intersesting if there were a dock within seight providing some contextural value to the design choice.
nayehieona
Greetings! Since shipping containers are already made and available, they are an accessible commodity, that with a little creativity, effort and resources can be converted into useful, viable structures. They save additional materials, energy and time. We as a society must begin to think \"outside the box\" of conventionality if we are to remain successful. Recycling materials is paramount to this end. GOD Bless!
Robert Sawtelle
Could they be recycled? Sure, but being sold as components for building they generally go for more than the going scrap rate. That is the dollars and cents business model to why they all simply are not scrapped. Shipping them empty or full of scrap back to China requires that they be rated as \'sea worthy\' which means they are NOT in the category to be scrapped out anyway. The ones that are being decommissioned are no longer rated as sea worthy. So finding uses for them is a good thing. I have three on my property that I am using for out buildings, one is a shop with attached lean to style greenhouse, one is a storage building soon to be craft area and the third is an insulated reefer that I\'m hoping to convert to a guest space. They are also not all \'pure steel\', most have wood floors and many have other materials that would need to be separated for scrapping. In my case they make very affordable solid structures. I know many other people who use them in similar fashion. However I will be surprised if this gets approved as the counties have been denying building projects using them as they don\'t have the engineering calcs and codes to apply to them in such a way.
Albert Sudonim
A bit of study and research on the topic of container architecture would help inform the comments here.
Griffin
Ask the ultra-poor around the world living in cardboard boxes in garbage dumps. It\'s the labor. If you had raw steel and wanted to make storm proof-houses, how much would that cost? How would you deliver them? WOULDN\'T UNWANTED SHIPPING CONTAINERS BE CHEAPER AND EASIER?
Dave B13
Just call me ANYONE. A shipping container\'s usefull life as a shipping container is just 5 years, I don\'t know why. When the used containers are put to building uses you don\'t spend the energy to melt them down to form them into building materials or other items, you just do some refinishing and modifcations.