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Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:02 PM

 

Shipping Containers to Become Condos in Detroit

The first U.S. multi-family condo built of used shipping containers is slated to break ground in Detroit early next year.

Strong, durable and portable, shipping containers stack easily and link together like Legos. About 25 million of these 20-by-40 feet multicolored boxes move through U.S. container ports a year, hauling children's toys, flat-screen TVs, computers, car parts, sneakers and sweaters.

But so much travel takes its toll, and eventually the containers wear out and are retired. That's when architects and designers, especially those with a "green" bent, step in to turn these cast-off boxes into student housing in Amsterdam, artists' studios, emergency shelters, health clinics, office buildings.

Despite an oft-reported glut of unused cargo containers lying idle around U.S. ports and ship yards - estimates have ranged from 700,000 to 2 million - the Intermodal Steel Building Units and Container Homes Association puts the number closer to 12,000, including what's sold on Craigslist and eBay.

http://m.yahoo.com/w/legobpengine/news/shipping-containers-become-condos-detroit-110032447--abc-news-topstories.html?orig_host_hdr=news.yahoo.com&.intl=US&.lang=en-US

I thought they had a whole lot of empty homes. Why do they need these? Odd.

13 replies, 1990 views

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Response to dkf (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:09 PM

1. The cost of renovating empty houses

likely exceeds that of prepping shipping containers for human habitation.

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:17 PM

2. that's what I was thinking, too

Plus, with the energy efficient features, it should be lower cost to live and maintain.

One thing I did wonder, though. The article basically said these containers were too run down to be used for hauling stuff...but they're good enough to live in?

At any rate, I'm all for anything that can make housing affordable to more people, and if it's "green" construction, even better. I just hope these things aren't all bought up by affluent hipsters. The rich already have lots of housing options.

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Response to Momgonepostal (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:22 PM

3. This Wiki article suggests it is cheaper

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shipping_container_architecture

although it requires more insulation due to steel's heat-conductive properties. Also, there's certainly no shortage of cargo containers, so there will still be plenty left if yuppies buy all the ones made-over with superfluous ticky-tacky.

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:27 PM

4. Article quotes the 'inventor' as saying ...

95% of the costs remain.

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Response to GeorgeGist (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:16 PM

11. But they are also 4 times more energy efficient.

From the article:

"A shipping container doesn't want to be a building," Case explains. "So you have to do quite a bit of gymnastics that cost money." But the Box Office is four times more energy efficient than a typical office building, and that's where Case says he'll see savings. "There's no way for air to come in or out of a shipping container," he says, "unless you want it to."

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 04:20 PM

12. not all vacant housing in detroit needs extensive renovation. i read something

 

not so long ago that detroit's housing stock was actually newer & higher-quality (a lot of it built with bricks) compared to other cities.

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Response to dkf (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:35 PM

5. Why would they be needed in a city with half of the housing unoccupied?

I believe I heard it said on the TV-machine, the other night, that Detroit, a city with a one-time population of slightly over two million people, now was comprised of about 700,000 people and that empty lots, buildings, and homes are the norm. So if that is true, anywhere near so, then what is the point of using old steel boxes for housing>

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Response to 1-Old-Man (Reply #5)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:01 PM

8. Many of those homes are not fit to live in

It's often more economical to build new then try and refurbish an old home that has suffered years or even decades of neglect. It's been my experience that a number of old homes don't meet modern structural, electrical, plumbing and/or mechanical (heating & cooling) codes and trying to upgrade such without completely gutting the place can sometimes be a real bitch.

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Response to dkf (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:37 PM

6. I use two 40 foot containers

for my tools and I insulated them, I drive a Tractor Trailer between them and do repairs. I have tools on both sides of the truck so I don't have to walk around the truck to get a tool. They work good and are easy to lock up. I have attic fans in both to keep them cool in the summer.

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Response to dkf (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:44 PM

7. What's "odd" about offering more housing choices?

From my understanding, salvageable homes *are* being bought cheap, but renovations are very costly. Not everyone can afford that. And not everyone wants to maintain a house/yard... let all that be done via condo fees. And why not put these containers to good use?

Detroit was featured in this "Designing Healthy Communities" show on PBS:

http://designinghealthycommunities.org/

And, no, it doesn't only benefit "affluent hipsters," who were mentioned elsewhere in this thread. I imagine those behind the shipping containers are working in tandem with those building community gardens, walkable neighborhoods, local businesses, etc. And those are *good* things...

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Response to dkf (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:05 PM

9. I think that they did this in part of New Zealand after the big earthquake down there

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Response to dkf (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 02:11 PM

10. saw a couple examples on the internet a bit ago--al jazera america or some such

looked really interesting

examples as i remembered were a bit rustic

sympathize with the rehab of existing approach and in detroit one would think there would be pleny of possibilities.

wonder if the mobile home indiusty has looked at this

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Response to dkf (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:33 AM

13. on yahoo today is a chinese company that is going to build the tallest building in the world

in 90 days
90 days

using lego like blocks

innovation does not wait for the proper company to figure things out

remember the transister radio and cheap Japanesse cars--what the datsun 210????

innovate or die

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