Re Arquitectura and DAO were commissioned by a Costa Rican family who wanted their three adult sons to have their own homes but remain close by. Three recycled shipping containers were used to create a like number of appealing dwellings on the family property that don't require air-conditioning to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Located in Santa Ana, Costa Rica, the Contenedores Franceschi project is made up of three 40 ft (12 m)-long shipping containers. The containers are heavily modified and installed into a structure that both provides a roof to shade them and raises them off the ground with concrete supports

The three homes include some nice semi-outdoor areas like a rear deck, balcony, and porch. Each sports a solar water heater on the roof too.

Despite the poor thermal performance of shipping containers, Re Arquitectura says that its homes don't have, nor need, any air-conditioning. They were positioned to make use of the prevailing breeze and the glazing was carefully situated to promote cross-ventilation. The firm used insulating paint too (which, we should note, is contentious stuff).

"The good management of the resources was key in this project, making the most of all the available local materials respecting their nature and modulation, in order to generate the minimum possible waste, on the other hand materials of low environmental impact were used, plantation woods, water-based paints and varnishes, solar heaters and passive climate control strategies to avoid the use of air conditioning," says Re Arquitectura. "The sewage system uses a double-stage septic tank with a filter that allows the treatment of all wastewater that is then drained into the ground."

In a nice touch, the waste material generated from the build, like wood and metal scrap, was put to good use as furniture, such as lamps and handrails, door handles, bath accessories, and planters.

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