Outdoors

$8,000 lockable building-in-a-box assembles in 11 minutes, sleeps 8

$8,000 lockable building-in-a-box assembles in 11 minutes, sleeps 8
CMAX Systems' building-in-a-box before it becomes a building (image widened using AI)
CMAX Systems' building-in-a-box before it becomes a building (image widened using AI)
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CMAX Systems' building-in-a-box before it becomes a building (image widened using AI)
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CMAX Systems' building-in-a-box before it becomes a building (image widened using AI)
CMAX Systems' portable building can be assembled by two people in 11 minutes without tools
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CMAX Systems' portable building can be assembled by two people in 11 minutes without tools
The CMAX System weighs just 330 lb (150 kg) – the same as a dirt bike. It can hence be towed behind a small car such as this Toyota Prius
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The CMAX System weighs just 330 lb (150 kg) – the same as a dirt bike. It can hence be towed behind a small car such as this Toyota Prius
The CMAX can do duty as a low-cost easily-repurposed building for almost any need: site office, laboratory, hospital ward, 8-cot-bedroom, cubby house, storage shed, trade show HQ, weddings, parties … anything
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The CMAX can do duty as a low-cost easily-repurposed building for almost any need: site office, laboratory, hospital ward, 8-cot-bedroom, cubby house, storage shed, trade show HQ, weddings, parties … anything
An $8000 habitable building ... 11 minutes to build ... relocatable almost anywhere
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An $8000 habitable building ... 11 minutes to build ... relocatable almost anywhere
Equipped with bunks, the CMAX can can sleep eight comfortably, but the CMAX can also be perfect for two.
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Equipped with bunks, the CMAX can can sleep eight comfortably, but the CMAX can also be perfect for two.
The interior: big enough to sleep eight
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The interior: big enough to sleep eight
The stackable nature of these units makes them ideal for bulk deployment in emergency scenarios
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The stackable nature of these units makes them ideal for bulk deployment in emergency scenarios
A rigid-floored, lockable tent sitting some 10 cm (3.9 inches) off the ground
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A rigid-floored, lockable tent sitting some 10 cm (3.9 inches) off the ground
Adjustable feet can be accessed before the side folds down
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Adjustable feet can be accessed before the side folds down
Nico Garcia Mayor, founder of the CMAX Foundation and designer of the CMAX system
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Nico Garcia Mayor, founder of the CMAX Foundation and designer of the CMAX system
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You could view it as a solid-floored uber-tent or an easily relocatable temporary building – but you could also call it a super-minimal tiny home for US$8,000. This remarkable building-in-a-box was designed for housing refugees, but it's now on sale.

CMAX Systems' building-in-a-box seems almost too good to be true. It offers a solid-floored, robust, habitable structure, 19 ft long by 7.4 ft wide (5.8 x 2.25 m) with a ceiling height of 7.2 ft (2.2 m), so only a handful of pro basketball players would brush their heads on the ceiling.

The CMAX System's most transformative super power though, is its ability to fold into a manageable 330-lb (150-kg) unit that can easily be transported on the back of a pickup or a trailer, then set down more or less anywhere, raised off the ground and leveled out with its adjustable legs and ready to go within about 10 minutes, using two people and no special tools. You could look at it as a super-robust, solid-floor, eight-person tent that won't blow away in a storm, or as an easily relocatable temporary building.

The rigid central structure of the unit enables the CMAX (at additional cost) to mount solar panels, air-conditioning and/or a water treatment unit. It also gives it a lockable door – although to be fair, security-wise it's only really locked until somebody wanders up with a knife and makes a new door of their own.

The CMAX can do duty as a low-cost easily-repurposed building for almost any need: site office, laboratory, hospital ward, 8-cot-bedroom, cubby house, storage shed, trade show HQ, weddings, parties … anything
The CMAX can do duty as a low-cost easily-repurposed building for almost any need: site office, laboratory, hospital ward, 8-cot-bedroom, cubby house, storage shed, trade show HQ, weddings, parties … anything

The unit is designed to take advantage of natural ventilation, with numerous retractable surfaces, yet it can be closed up for complete privacy – and it can be made airtight enough to operate as a mobile medical unit or laboratory.

The potential uses for CMAX's portable fold-up buildings are almost limitless – temporary storage, shelter, living or working quarters for everyone at an affordable price. Many a race team would have one or more, as would construction companies, mining companies, party, events and outdoor hire companies.

The CMAX System was originally designed as an emergency shelter for humanitarian aid, but the design appears so broadly useful and durable in a range of different climates that it appears an ideal solution for a lot of American problems – not the least of which is affordable emergency housing, given the wave of homelessness sweeping the country.

Equipped with bunks, the CMAX can can sleep eight comfortably, but the CMAX can also be perfect for two.
Equipped with bunks, the CMAX can can sleep eight comfortably, but the CMAX can also be perfect for two.

As it was designed to be set up quickly in disaster scenarios, the CMAX sits on 20 height-adjustable feet, so the CMAX can be made stable on most stretches of relatively flat ground, and emergency teams can put buildings where they need them. Of course, it also means the CMAX can give campers or mountaineers a cabin in the mountains exactly where they want it, pronto.

Now here's one small catch.

Buying the CMAX System

Adjustable feet can be accessed before the side folds down
Adjustable feet can be accessed before the side folds down

If you go to the CMAX System web site, you can request information about buying a CMAX by filling out a form. You won't find the buy price unless you directly enquire via the form. And if you do directly enquire, they will try to get you to buy shares in the company.

We spoke directly to Argentinian Founder and CEO Nicolas Garcia Mayor about this, and he assured us that you can indeed buy one for US$8,000 – buying shares in the company is not necessary. It's certainly an odd way to do business, but then the consumer side of the CMAX system is less of a focus than the CMAX Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose core stated aims are to help out with natural disaster relief and refugee support.

Indeed, earlier versions of the CMAX system have already been in use for more than a decade, and every 11 CMAX systems sold to consumers will trigger the donation of one unit to the Foundation to be used in a refugee camp or disaster site.

The CMAX System company is selling these things to consumers on pre-order – so standard buyer-beware advice applies, and we're not sure when deliveries are expected.

Foldable Shelter for Complex Emergencies. Refugees displaced by war and natural disaster #nowar

Source: CMAX System

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7 comments
7 comments
borisabdul
It looks cool, but the $8K price is doubtful. In the countries shown in the promotional video, the price of a 20ft container in good condition varies from $3,000 to $4,000. People simply build temporary shelters in them. These containers are made of metal, so they won’t be blown away by the wind. They painted them white, reducing half of the sun’s heat. And by paying $1k more, they can get some amenities such as windows, a washbasin, etc. Just saying.
michael_dowling
These things might be a good way of giving street people some dignity and a place to live until they can find work. Finding work requires someone to have an address at least.
Uncle Anonymous
This is a cool tent, if nothing else. The company opening up sales is a smart move on their part. I wouldn't be surprised if a second company that made utility trailers came along and partnered with these guys. With some very small tweaks, these could be turned into utility trailer camping pods, with the added advantage that they could be removed if the utility trailer was needed.
vince
Looks like an extra large Tower PC to me.
minivini
I really like the “1 for 1” model providing shelter/aid. I also like the potential portability compared to a shipping container.

And, the other vince nailed it - PC tower!
clay
$8K for a **narrow** popup camper sans the kitchen, toilet, table, beds, couches, and....wheels. Hmmm.

I like the idea but it is really much of an improvement on a design that has been around for almost a hundred years? It would be more compelling if it was *more* compact, like shorter/half the hight, with piano-hinged floor panels. Of course the fabric may be too bulky for that.

This probably has some utility in a few narrow edge cases. Good luck!
Grunchy
You can get a flat-pack shed for less than $1000. I bet a guy named Thoreau could whip up a shack out of a pallet-load of old pallets & second-hand nails for nuttin'.