Lancaster, PA Real Estate - Would You Live In a Shipping Container Home?

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Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty
http://actvra.in/4fBs

 

I found an article on msn.com today that caught my eye.  Apparently there are architects creating houses out of leftover shipping containers.  That’s right, those huge boxes (40 feet long by 8 feet wide) that transport lamps, furniture, etc on freightliners. They are recycling them into neat, eco-friendly housing that costs less than traditional home building.  Here is an excerpt of the article by Melinda Fulmer of MSN Real Estate.

building a container buildingfinished building  

“The evolution
Initially developed as an experiment for art installations, emergency housing and vacation homes for wealthy modernists, cargo container housing is moving off the fringe and into the mainstream.

 "People have begun to think of it as viable instead of weird," says New York architect and artist Adam Kalkin, who began building homes with containers in 2000.  

Kalkin and a handful of other architects and builders have begun using the corrugated steel boxes for everything from high-rise apartment homes and coffee shops to senior residences and even luxurious suburban homes.

Indeed, Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based architect Peter DeMaria has launched a home building firm, Logical Homes, that will offer nine different models of container homes on lots around Southern California, an area where he has several other projects built or underway.

From the outside, the Logical Homes models, which range from 640 to 3,520 square feet, appear to be mid-century tract homes, their large corrugated boxes covered with special finishes or "skins" and enhanced with custom paint and large windows.

On the inside, they have bamboo floors and energy-efficient appliances. Insulation is provided by recycled denim;  an optional ceramic paint helps form a greater sound barrier against the outside world.

The price tag for all this eco-chic? DeMaria's homes average around $150 to $200 per square foot, compared with about $220 to $250 for much of the traditional building in the area.

Generally, architects say, container homes are about 20% cheaper to build than those made with traditional construction, ranging from $87 a square foot for the most basic container home to about $200, depending on location and finishes.

Container house in CAThinking inside the box
DeMaria and other architects have embraced the idea of shipping containers largely because of their price. With a surplus of hundreds of thousands of containers sitting vacant on U.S. docks due to the imbalance in trade, used containers sell for $1,000 to $2,500, depending on their size and condition, DeMaria says.

With lumber and steel prices rising, these building blocks are a bargain, and with their 9 1/2-foot height, they have just enough of a clearance to serve as actual rooms, rather than glorified storage sheds.

They also have the advantage of being easier to assemble on site than traditional framed construction. That  can speed up the building process on an apartment building by as much as 40%, says David Cross, founder of SG Blocks, a St. Louis container retrofitting firm.

And they are exceptionally sturdy, a selling point in hurricane-riddled Florida and earthquake-prone California. "It's a heavy-gauge, steel-frame house," Cross says.

The tricky part, says St. Louis architect Dan Rosenthal of the Lawrence Group, which designed shipping-container housing for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, has been finding people to retrofit them. "There have been a lot of them drawn up, but very few have been built," he says.

SG Blocks, which Rosenthal now collaborates with, was founded less than two years ago and is one of the few filling this unusual building niche. It modifies containers into building units or "blocks" at 17 different port locations owned by cargo giant ConGlobal Industries, its container supplier.

Cross says he expects to work on as many as 1,000 containers next year. Some will be used in groups of three or four for single-family homes, or as many as 400 for multistory apartment buildings and condominiums.”

It goes on to say this:

Green and clean
In fact, some cities are beginning to embrace the idea because of its affordability and its green sensibility.

It was this environmental stewardship that convinced real-estate investor Oona McLoghlin to take the plunge with a 14-container mixed-use project — two apartments and ground-floor commercial space — underway in Venice, Calif.. "I just loved the idea that you could put existing material that was completely going to waste ... and put that into excellent use. The concept is a wonderful one," she says.

There are about 11 million shipping containers in circulation worldwide, according to SG Blocks, and 300,000 of those are  sitting vacant in ports worldwide, enough to recycle into 90 million square feet of new living space.

Retrofitting these units into viable building units takes only 5% of the energy needed to convert this kind of container scrap into steel beams, Cross says.”

So what do you think?  Would you live in a house made of containers?  Although they would look out of place in historic Lancaster City, I think it’s a great idea and a great way to recycle.

 

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Topic:
Home Buying
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Tags:
lancaster pa real estate
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Rainmaker
593,600
Sun City Grand Homes Surprise AZ Real Estate Leolinda Bowers
Associate Broker Realtor Arizona Golf Communities
Long Realty West Valley Sun City Grand Surprise Arizona

I saw this on HG TV last week.  I don't think that I would be happy there.

December 20, 2008 10:14 PM
Anonymous #2
Anonymous
Anonymous

I spoke with someone several months ago who lived in another state, and was considering selling his historic home and building a home out of shipping containers.  I thought it was the strangest thing then, but started reading up on it afterwards.  I think it can really make sense if done correctly. 

December 20, 2008 10:37 PM
Rainer
32,351
Lauren Krady Lancaster
PA Realtor
Keller Williams Realty

Leolinda, I will have to look for it on HGTV I would love to see that.

Jeannie, It does seem strange at first!  I wonder if there are any around here ...?

December 21, 2008 11:52 AM
Anonymous #4
Anonymous
pdziuk
Absolutely, depending on design style, it does not even sometimes look like a container at all when complete. Our trademark is containertecture (www.containertecture.com). We are still developing our design including small retreat units. Very eco as long as they are not shipped too far from origin. Cheers!
December 21, 2008 05:35 PM
Rainer
32,351
Lauren Krady Lancaster
PA Realtor
Keller Williams Realty

Interesting website pdziuk, thanks for stopping by!

December 21, 2008 06:34 PM
Rainmaker
1,102,544
Myrl Jeffcoat
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent
GreatWest Realty

That's a pretty upscale shipping container home.  When I first saw the blog title, and clicked to read, I conjured a vision in my head of a homeless guy in San Francisco about a decade ago.  He was living in a very large cardboard box, nestled on the sidewalk, up against a building in a not-so-bad area.  The top of the box would flip up, and he'd stand inside looking out.  The dimensions were likely about 7' x 5' x 4' height.  I wanted so much, to stop and talk to him, but my friend walking with me, wouldn't encourage me:-)

December 21, 2008 06:58 PM
Rainer
32,351
Lauren Krady Lancaster
PA Realtor
Keller Williams Realty

You should have Myrl, he probably had an interesting story.  Makes me so thankful for my warm house on this blustery night.

December 21, 2008 07:15 PM
Ambassador
1,529,112
Gary Woltal
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth
Keller Williams Realty

Lauren, while it does have that modular quick build concept to it, a shipping container house to me at least, seems like a big turnoff.

December 21, 2008 07:32 PM
Rainmaker
325,189
Jeff R. Geoghan
Marketing VP & Real Estate Agent Trainer
Coldwell Banker Select Professionals

I think I'll just make an apartment inside a shipping container and buy the truck too.  That way I can move at a whim and take vacations with ease.

December 21, 2008 11:59 PM
Anonymous #10
Anonymous
California Kate

The DeMaria container project is two blocks from my house.  Can't believe folks in Pennsylvania are reading about it, but we've heard that it has become an icon of sort for the "green" architecture movement.  Cool place and owners love it (so do us neighbors!).  The Architect is originally from New Jersey; your neck of the woods.  Go on their website www.demariadesign.com and check all the work out.  Maybe you can get a few built back east; good luck.

December 22, 2008 03:38 PM
Rainer
32,351
Lauren Krady Lancaster
PA Realtor
Keller Williams Realty

Kate - thanks for that link, will have to check it out, its a small world!

 

 

December 22, 2008 07:33 PM
Anonymous #12
Anonymous
john simmis

If you are considering modular or prefab home, building with recycled shipping containers is worth taking a look at. Good resource is the Residential Shipping Container Primer website. A SHOWCASE OF SHIPPING CONTAINER HOMES AND BUILDINGDS, AND A DO IT YOURSELF (DIY) REFERENCE FOR CONVERTING RECYCLED INTERMODAL CARGO SHIPPING CONTAINERS INTO BUILDINGS AND ARCHITECTURE. Lots of great example buildings, details, facts, and links to other articles. They have something new that you can setup your own project wiki to get help with your project if you are considering a design build project. www.ResidentialShippingContainerPrimer.com

October 18, 2010 06:39 PM
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Rainer
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Lauren Krady Lancaster

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