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The Housing Recovery: From REO-To-Rent To Containers-To-Condos

Tyler Durden's picture


With REO-to-Rent now yesterday's trade, the Baltic Dry Index stumbling along near its lows (along with a glut of containers), and a 'recovery' in US housing, what better than to leverage all of these themes; to wit, as ABC News reports, the first U.S. multi-family condo built of used shipping containers is slated to break ground in Detroit early next year. So forget Trailer Parks, now the increasingly mothballed ports of America will be wonderful waterfront property courtesy of your very own (slightly used) cargo container. One proponent of this 'cargotecture' warns that although containers can be bought for as little as $2,500, they should not be thought of as a low-cost housing solution. Tempted? We are sure; below are several current developments.



Here’s a few recent North American projects – including the new condo complex  – where the shipping container takes center stage:

Exceptional Green Living on Rosa Parks, Detroit: Container to Condo

ht green living rosa parks lpl 121120 wblog Home Sweet Shipping Container: Detroit Housing Project

Image Credit: Three Squared Inc.

This 20-unit, four-story condo complex consisting of 93 stacked cargo containers — the first U.S. multi-family residence  to be built from these discarded vessels — has been in the works for four years.  Tabled when the national real estate market shattered, the project is now scheduled to break ground early next year  in midtown Detroit. The units will come rigged with ductless heating and air systems, tankless water heaters and other energy-saving systems. “We’re putting money into these energy efficiencies so that the tenant has reduced energy costs,” says Leslie Horn, CEO of Three Squared, the project’s developer.  “And we can build in less than half the time.”

The Sunset Cargotecture House, Seattle: Home Sweet Container

ht container 1 dm 120620 wblog Home Sweet Shipping Container: Detroit Housing Project
Image Credit: Photo by Thomas J. Story, Sunset Publishing Corp.

Built and designed by HyBrid Architecture as the Sunset magazine Idea House 2011, this 192-square-foot solar-powered  backyard container cottage is not even half the size of a New York City studio apartment.

Still, it manages to pack in a galley kitchen and micro bathroom with a ceiling-mounted showerhead – the floor’s redwood slats hide a drain  –  and can sleep up to four  (a bed unfolds from the wall, a couch converts, another bed can be added). But given the close quarters, it’s probably best if everyone’s related.

 Cinco Camp, Brewster County, Texas:  Light on the Land

ht container 2 dm 120620 wblog Home Sweet Shipping Container: Detroit Housing Project
Image Credit: Hester + Hardaway

Five freestanding cargo containers lined up and cinched together on a 3,000-acre ranch in the rugged, rocky high desert mountains of West Texas reduce life to its basics:  One container holds a living room;  two house bedrooms and bathrooms;  another a kitchen and eating area, while the last  is for storage.

Minimalism was the goal here. “It was more about the arrangement of the boxes. Most architects see those containers, and they want to manipulate them too much and cut them all up,” says Mark Wellen, who designed Cinco Camp for Roger Black, a former Rolling Stone and  New York Times art director who’d grown sick of the Hamptons.

Stripped of their paint and topped with large roof canopies for shade, each  box sits off the ground on short stilts. There’s rattlesnakes, scorpions, spiders, all kinds of bugs,” says Wellen. “We made a conscious effort to get it off the ground.”

Weirdly enough, a major east-west railroad runs through this middle-of-nowhere terrain three to five times a day, its long, distant cars loaded with shipping containers, a regular reminder from where this home came.

The Box Office, Providence, R.I.: Lego Land

ht container 5 dm 120620 wblog Home Sweet Shipping Container: Detroit Housing Project
Image Credit: Nat Rea

Rust-tinted brown wasn’t the look the Box Office designers were going for. This three-story, 12,000-square-foot complex, which sits like a child’s Lego dome in a post-industrial section of Providence, is the largest office building in the United States made exclusively of cargo containers.

“The building is made of 140 tons of recycled steel, but it’s very difficult for a green building to have an identity,” says Peter Case, who developed and helped design the Box Office.  ”The bright paint, the solar panels on top get the message across that this is a green building.”

Case abandoned plans for a conventional office complex when the economy faltered and instead bought 35  shipping containers. But, he says, with construction costs at $1.6 million, the containers didn’t really save him money.

“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.”

Muvbox, Montreal: Take a Break in a Crate

ht container 3 dm 120620 wblog Home Sweet Shipping Container: Detroit Housing Project
Image Credit: Courtesy of Muvbox

An art object by night and a snack cart by day, this pop-up lobster shack opened in the Old Port of Montreal two years ago. Motorized and illuminated by solar-powered batteries, Muvbox opens and closes in about  90 seconds — the side panels unfold to become terraces with table-seating.

The brainchild of Daniel Noiseaux, the design-obsessed restaurateur who brought wood-oven pizza to Montreal 31 years ago, Muvbox was inspired by the horse-drawn snack carts  and old-style canteens of centuries past, and Adam Kalkin’s  Push Button House  installation of 2006.

While Montreal was first, Muvboxes have since surfaced in Paris, Toronto and New York’s Times Square, where the lobster frescoes yield to black-and-white stripes, and the menu changes from lobster to hot dogs and bagels. A movable feast indeed.

DeKalb Market, Brooklyn, N.Y.: A Portable Souk

ht container 4 dm 120620 wblog Home Sweet Shipping Container: Detroit Housing Project
Image Credit: Eddy Valante

A cluster of about 60  food and Etsy-style arts and clothing vendors operating out of shipping containers on a vacant Brooklyn lot, the DeKalb Market is no Dordoy Bazaar in Kyrgyzstan or Seven-Kilometer Market in Ukraine. The first U.S. container project of U.K.-based developer Urban Space — most famous for its Container City complexes in London — DeKalb dismantled in October to make way for a long-stalled housing-retail development as its planners continue to negotiate for a new location. Good thing those containers are so portable.

Aprisa Mexican Cuisine, Portland, Ore.: A Movable Taqueria

ht container 6 dm 120620 wblog Home Sweet Shipping Container: Detroit Housing Project
Image Credit: Courtesy of Kirk Lance

Having had  two restaurants fail on him,  Kirk Lance vowed if he ever opened another he’d  have to be able to pick it up and move it if it started to backslide.

As he drove  down the interstate in Oregon, where Lance had moved and had his eco-conscience raised,  he noticed “giant yards … with hundreds, possibly thousands” of shipping containers stacked up and suddenly saw his next restaurant. He bought one of these cargo holders, for about $3,000.

“It was the culmination of sustainability and recycling  and portability all coming together,” Lance says. And then there’s the romance of it: “This shipping container has traveled all over the world,” says Lance. “It’s shipped tons of who knows what, and for me it’s kind of intriguing that it gets to have a second life.”

Turning the retired cargo vessel into a taqueria wasn’t that hard, says Lance. Cutting out windows, spraying in the foam insulation, “anybody with a little construction background can probably figure those things out,” he says.

But getting the permits, the blueprints, the structural engineering reports through the state of Oregon took four years, and added “a ton” to the cost, Lance says.  ”What kept me going was if I could build one of these things and it works well, I could just copy the blueprints and  build 100 of them,” or pick up and move.

The Shipping Container House, Nederland, Colo.: Still ‘Cargotecture’

ht container partial dm 120625 wblog Home Sweet Shipping Container: Detroit Housing Project
Image Credit: Braden Gunem

True, the Shipping Container House is not all shipping containers, but by definition it’s still cargotecture. The two containers that sandwich the main living area house an office and a bedroom in this 1,500-square-foot mountain home. Designed by Studio H:T in Boulder, Colo., for “a conscientious client who believes in living small and recycling,” the solar-powered house can operate entirely off-grid.


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Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:24 | 3011651 CPL
CPL's picture


Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:29 | 3011672 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

Containers are hard to cool in the summer heat.   Require lots of air-conditioning. 

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:42 | 3011716 xtop23
xtop23's picture

bury 'em. modest house on top. if this kinda thing really interests you of course.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:45 | 3011733 HomemadeLasagna
HomemadeLasagna's picture

Don't burry them unless you do some significant additional welding to the inside first.  The containers are only made to take load vertically on the corners.  The sides are a simple corrugated steel, and have been known to collapse from the weight of the dirt when you backfill around them.

I know people who have successfully burried them without further reinforcement, but I'd never do all that work only to risk being burried alive.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:53 | 3011999 killallthefiat
killallthefiat's picture

TPTB are pushing hard on containers and small houses.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 15:34 | 3012113 Kobe Beef
Kobe Beef's picture

Let's call 'em Obamavilles.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:01 | 3011781 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Saaaay, is that Lahey and Randy in the lower right of the artist's rendition of the Detroit project?

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:12 | 3011838 youngman
youngman's picture

I buried mine but the roof did cave in after my cows decided that was a cool place to stand.....

Actually I was in Odessa and they have a shopping mall....7 corners I think..all shipping containers...double cluld buy some very nice stuff there...fur coats and everything...

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 16:58 | 3012358 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

I buried mine...before they legalized marijuana

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:50 | 3011987 unrulian
unrulian's picture

i really never thought i'd see a trailer park boys reference on ZH... +1 for the mere mention of of a rare TV masterpiece

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 18:13 | 3012552 Dawnofinsanity
Dawnofinsanity's picture

If so... it appears that Randy has his shirt on today.  A rarity

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 16:27 | 3012266 Martel
Martel's picture

In addition to not being able hold their structure, underground containers rust as well.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 17:00 | 3012366 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

it's poetic really that we end up living in the rusted shells of the very items that helped pull our society down in the first place

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:41 | 3011717 lamont cranston
lamont cranston's picture

Amen. Just ask anyone who ever had to unload boxcars during the summer in the Deep South. The warehouse manager would put a thermometer inside, and when it dropped to 125º, we'd start unloading boxes. 

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:50 | 3011746 El Viejo
El Viejo's picture

Had a friend who put two refrigerated truck trailers side by side. It was pretty nice. They come with hardwood floors and better insulation.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:27 | 3011907 slackrabbit
slackrabbit's picture

Dude just open the doors!

(no PhD needed)

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 17:50 | 3012508 Bunga Bunga
Bunga Bunga's picture

It seems that Americans still haven't learned the benfits of insolation.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 19:38 | 3012841 Long-John-Silver
Long-John-Silver's picture

The "trick" to using containers is placing a vented slanting roof on the container and insulating the outside surfaces of the container. A local company specializes in converting containers here in the Southeast USA. He is an engineer and figured out rather quickly that leaving the steel shell exposed to the outside causes problems of which the least is heating and cooling. What they do is install a framework on the outside of the container, place insulation in the framework along with wiring and plumbing, and then install vinyl siding attaching it to the framework. This eliminates condensation and prevents rapid temperature changes inside the container. The occupant can take advantage of normal heating during the day and cooling at night. In Atlanta, GA at this time of the year (November) where daytime temps can be 70+ degrees and night time temps can drop below freezing the occupant can open the windows during the day where the metal walls collect heat. When the temp starts dropping the occupant closes up his container and the metal walls provide comforting warmth all night long. You end up only supplying additional heating and cooling for 3 or 4 months of the year.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 21:10 | 3013076 Fred C Dobbs
Fred C Dobbs's picture

Do you have a link or the name of the company?

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:30 | 3011678 Everybodys All ...
Everybodys All American's picture

Like a refrigerated cool in the winter and an oven in the summer.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:40 | 3011711 CPL
CPL's picture

They also rust and leak.  It's a metal shipping container so then there is making sure you've got a ground and proper fixtures which is tough for the average home owner, unless they can use an arc welder.


Then this is the one thing that stops me from buying, even though the lego stacking thing is really cool.


Contaminants.  Shipping containers can hold tv's one direction, and pig's feet on the way back.  God knows what is growing in a dark container for years.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:42 | 3011723 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

$2500 buys an awful lot of lumber.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:58 | 3011768 CPL
CPL's picture

$2500 can build a really nice log home as long as you build it.  Go direct to the man that owns the lot, bring cash (silver and gold perferred now) and bring a chain saw plus a truck to haul.  Cut all the Manitoba maple and blue spruce you want.  They are giant weeds that take from the oak, birch and elm. 


Don't forget to plant a couple of replacements for each tree.  Plus cuts down on the chance it all burns down with an accidental cig butt.  Rinse and repeat every five years.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:33 | 3011935 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

$2500 is the lowest end container itself, per the article above.  '

Thanks for the tips, CPL.  I love that woodsy shit. 

ZH commenters should put out a survival guide. 

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:59 | 3012020 CPL
CPL's picture

Well if you are looking,

Regional politick rules.  First place of business for business in the Country side is local Masons/Lions/Optimists (in Canada add the Legion) and/or Church.  Attend regularily (lurk a bit and listen).  Have a couple of pints or cups of coffee with locals, see what's happening.  It's not a store, but more of a message tree, you talk about your idea of building a log house but you are short on bread.  Someone will eventually approach as long as you keep delivering the message.

Make a gentleman's agreement, pay the 50 bucks for a local cutting license or whatever the township in the area calls it.  Mark the trees on the lot.  Do a walk through with the owner with some Rye.  Spit, shake, haggle and pay.  Then the actual work can happen.

Rent a portable lumbermill, tape your shirt up so you don't get eaten by the saw by accident and make shingles and maple flooring.  Make the place shabby outside for lower intended tax purposes and a shangrila inside.  Lots of young couples start this way.  Sort of like the amish but with power tools.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 17:03 | 3012371 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

woodsy shit - another term for pine needles?

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:59 | 3011771 Eally Ucked
Eally Ucked's picture

To build dog house

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:40 | 3011957 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

..yyeeeeah maybe if you're one of those fru fru owners who frenches his poodle.  A single plywood sheet cut to form and fastened with screws would do for most dogs, anyway.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 17:56 | 3012525 Bunga Bunga
Bunga Bunga's picture

And steel can melt in a fire completely leading to the collapse of a container building. Gvt says it since 2001.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:36 | 3011946 formadesika3
formadesika3's picture

I'll have a double-wide please.

Hold the pig's feet.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:41 | 3011713 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

With all these people setting up fine homes in old factory spaces and shipping containers, why not just do away with manufacturing and shipping altogether?

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:00 | 3011772 CPL
CPL's picture

FEMA family style living.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:36 | 3011949 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

Right!  Nothing like living in a home that can be barricaded and forklifted in the dead of night, with your family inside it.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 15:37 | 3012121 Kobe Beef
Kobe Beef's picture

Yep, definitely Obamavilles.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 16:18 | 3012250 Larry Dallas
Larry Dallas's picture

Just a trendier version of a trailer park...

For hipsters and other like-kind douchbags.



Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:52 | 3011753 Cursive
Cursive's picture

@Everybody's All American

This is what I cannot get beyond.  One of the architects in the post is quoted as saying he will see savings in energy efficiency.  Who's he kidding.  I would fry in one of these during August in Louisiana.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:43 | 3011726 HomemadeLasagna
HomemadeLasagna's picture

I have one that stays within a few degrees of ambient air temperature all summer long with no supplemental cooling.  The exterior was painted with a ceramic-based coating that blocks almost all heat transfer.  It is perfectly comfortable in the the summer, and the exterior is cool to the touch.  Given the small footprint, it also save interior space since you no longer have to frame it out to add traditional insulation.

A solar panel array on the roof converts what would have normally been a solar to thermal conversion to a solar to electric conversion instead.  This further reduces the heat load while powering the house.

If I added another ceramic coating to the inside, the container could easily be heated for free in the winter using a solar thermal heater on the south side.

If you buy one, just be prepared to get creative.  Almost nothing about traditional building techniques applies when it comes time to fit out a sealed steel box.  Also, if you intend to live in it, be aware that the treatment on the marine grade plywood floors is highly toxic, and you'll need to pull the floors out and replace them.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:51 | 3011749 bsdetector
bsdetector's picture

can you provide any more info on the ceramic material? It sounds interesting

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 15:51 | 3012174 HomemadeLasagna
HomemadeLasagna's picture

The product I used is called SuperTherm:

As to the leaking and rusting comment earlier in this thread, once I went over the used container with a wire brush on my angle grinder, sprayed on a layer of rustoleum primer, and then coated it with SuperTherm, I've had no real issues with rust creeping back through.  The coating acts as a waterproofing agent as well.


Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:01 | 3011782 Offthebeach
Offthebeach's picture

Too rich for muppets s.
old van down by the river for the Bernanke era middle class. For the China wage fighter workers( non-gov ) sapplings and blue tarp with attached 10 mil clear polyethylene 'sun room's.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:28 | 3011667 Pairadimes
Pairadimes's picture

House made out of metal or not, it is still wise to park your Volt outdoors.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:32 | 3011681 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

Didn't Dexter see his mother slaughtered in a container?

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:32 | 3011684 ItsDanger
ItsDanger's picture

Containers might be popular in the doomsday crowd.  Or do they use buses still?

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:33 | 3011690 Glass Seagull
Glass Seagull's picture

Complete with pickle-jar lavatories.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:44 | 3011694 Mercury
Mercury's picture

I don't know how well they handle a Viking stove but I can tell you that shipping containers make perfectly serviceable waterfront workshops, club houses and bar any boatyard worker will tell you.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:38 | 3011703 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 Great for collecting electricity during thunder storms.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:39 | 3011706 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

Only a matter of time before stories of contamined containers used as houses come out...

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:39 | 3011708 xtop23
xtop23's picture

you cant polish a turd.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:39 | 3011709 Being Free
Being Free's picture

"Trailers for sale or rent" ...

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:40 | 3011712 gamera9
gamera9's picture

So will it now be four little pigs.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:41 | 3011714 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

And it seems to me that flat tops like that are not safe if you're in a region where there's lots of snow... not to mention... what about earthquakes??

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:24 | 3011889 flattrader
flattrader's picture

If you have engineered a proper "over roof" to bear snow load you are all set.

In an earthquake they are probably safer than a traditionally built home.  They may bounce around on the piers or pad, but it won't fall in on you.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:42 | 3011720 laomei
laomei's picture

Hey look, shanty towns!  About time americans discovered the amazing benefits afforded sheet metal roofing!

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:00 | 3011776 CPL
CPL's picture


Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:42 | 3011725 Agent P
Agent P's picture

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

Finally, someone has come up with a viable solution to Detroit's housing shortage problem!

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:49 | 3011742 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture


Detroit needs a solution to all the welfare leeches, the corruption and the crime.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:15 | 3011848 youngman
youngman's picture

Its more like a 308 round will not penetrate the exterior....

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 15:19 | 3012072 Its_the_economy...
Its_the_economy_stupid's picture

i don't thinkDetroit has a housing shortage. I think they are tearing them down due to excessive vacancy and decay. Detroit may be one of the best places to Homestead outside of Vegas and Florida

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 15:40 | 3012130 Kobe Beef
Kobe Beef's picture

So's the Congo River Basin. Consider yourself warned.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:44 | 3011729 SmittyinLA
SmittyinLA's picture

Isn't Detroit already full of empty houses? 

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:48 | 3011740 chet
chet's picture

My though exactly.  Why are they building housing in Detroit?

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:53 | 3011758 Boilermaker
Boilermaker's picture

They aren't.  It's horseshit.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:50 | 3011744 surf0766
surf0766's picture

These are houses they are rat traps

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:47 | 3011737 surf0766
surf0766's picture

We are all communist now. Enter your box and eat your pees.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:50 | 3011747 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

Cattle trucks to Dachau.

Containers to FEMA camps ?

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:06 | 3011803 Piranhanoia
Piranhanoia's picture

Not if properly anchored. In reality.    Bad weather?  Put a roof over them and use the storage between roofs for the solar

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:52 | 3011755 Boilermaker
Boilermaker's picture

I live here in Metro Detroit.  Never heard one word about this bullshit.

If anything, the area is saturated with empty / available housing.  This is especially true in the city limits.

Me thinks this is more red meat bullshit from ZH in the bash-anything-auto-related-and-Detroit theme.  Lord knows the dumbass clan will flock to it in droves.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 16:55 | 3012346 smiler03
smiler03's picture

Yeah yeah yeah big conspiracy rubbish from the GM Boilermaker.


This one has a map as well so maybe you can go and do some research for a change and see it for yourself.


Mon, 11/26/2012 - 13:52 | 3011756 scatterbrains
scatterbrains's picture

can I stand one of these on end and build a X shape with containers at the top like a modern day defensive castle to protect me from the zombie/fsa ?

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:00 | 3011774 Chupacabra-322
Chupacabra-322's picture

Agenda 21 coming to a town near you. 

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:00 | 3011775 seek
seek's picture

Every day that goes by, our world looks a little more like the one in Snow Crash. Now we just need floating ghettos in the Pacific.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 15:43 | 3012142 Kobe Beef
Kobe Beef's picture

Good reference. Just about any Vonnegut book will do too. I like Hocus-Pocus for its depiction of the Micro-Second Arbitrage Crash.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:01 | 3011777 docj
docj's picture

I used to work within walking distance of "The Box Office" in Providence - it's on the outskirts of a really, really crappy neighborhood (Olneyville) and along an active train line (cargo and Amtrak) but the building itself is actually pretty upscale.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:01 | 3011779 Boilermaker
Boilermaker's picture

Outrageously sensationalized non-sense.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:02 | 3011789 navy62802
navy62802's picture

Some soldiers in Afghanistan already live in these. They are really just like hotel rooms once they've been properly outfitted.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:23 | 3011884 slackrabbit
slackrabbit's picture

Right on!

I saw people complaining...and I was like...'thats better than the shit-hole flat i was in back in New Zealand; and I have a job!'

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:28 | 3011915 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

for a million bucks per soldier per year in Afghan why not just put them up at the fucking Ritz-Carlton?

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:07 | 3011810 A Middle Child ...
A Middle Child of History's picture

Having spent countless hours with the wife, shopping in the Dordoy Market in Bishkek, and a year living in a conex at Camp Victory in Baghdad Iraq, I fail to see what the big deal is or understand the visceral opposition people have to the idea of repurposing these containers.

In my opinion, those who dislike or try to put obstacles in the way of using these as housing, typically have a nice McMansion and a salary to match, or are the local tax Nazi, concerned that they will lose tax dollars if this really takes off.

Try living on barely more than minimum wage and living in a shithole because tight rental markets have forced you to the margins, and then this idea seems a lot more attractive. Playing with the interest rates to keep property values high screws the hell out of the working poor. Keeping their costs down minimizes the threat of revolution. Prole revolts are never pretty.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:20 | 3011855 slackrabbit
slackrabbit's picture

Dude, know exactly where your coming from (and from an ex-pat perspective)!

 'I want my MacMansion' - complete with the fat-arse doorways for the scooter...


Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:33 | 3011930 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Look at all of the examples above. Practially every one of them is a further WASTE of resources.

Yes, there are people who can efficiently reuse these containers. But that's not what is on display here. This is nothing more than hipster masturbation, wasting thousands of dollars to save an old box that would be better repurposed as a storage unit.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:55 | 3012007 slackrabbit
slackrabbit's picture

Ah yes, and what about Mac  Mansions?

Cos evenyone nees an  "on suite bathroom"

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 16:22 | 3012257 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

Got to do something with all those containers now we manufactore nothing to put into

them to export.

All those empty,marooned containers are sitting on someones balance sheet as

an asset.Enron style accounting anyone ?

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:14 | 3011843 slackrabbit
slackrabbit's picture

Actually that’s very cool and cheap; chuck in some insulation using modern materials and there you go!

As the old saying goes 'everyone laugh’s, till everyone’s is doing it'.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:17 | 3011845 Aurora Ex Machina
Aurora Ex Machina's picture

The threads reponses are reminding me of an infamous Reddit post, named "We are Dooms Day preppers, $300,000 USD into it", where the owners of a Hostel in Costa Rica had welded shipping containers together as a life-raft / boat as they were convinced a Biblical flood was due in 2012.

At which point, let us say, it suffered the wrath of both customer feedback over the hostel and those with a science background pointing out how sea-worthy a box of shipping containers were, in an epic smack-down. Included was a live-fire test from 100 feet by an AK47: conclusion, not bullet-proof.



A more positive spin: Floating Container Houses Proposed for Pakistan Flood

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:26 | 3011899 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

how will that stand up to DHS hollow-point(albeit from pussy-assed 5.56 cartridge)? I would think DHS would get better penetration from FMJ rounds.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:29 | 3011909 animalspirit
animalspirit's picture

If these didn't need to be taken down after a week most of the 750 Hexayurts put up for Burning Man in the middle of the desert would still be there (and woiuld still be livable):

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:46 | 3011967 Mad Mohel
Mad Mohel's picture

Excellent! I wonder if you can buy a full one directly from China at the port. That would cut down on the time of having to shop for all the dog shit Walmart furnishings.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 14:59 | 3012023 e-recep
e-recep's picture

This is nothing but a prelude to slums.

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 16:30 | 3012279 socalbeach
socalbeach's picture

What happens if there is a lightning storm?

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 16:37 | 3012295 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

does my property taxes go down 90%....if so, give me 3

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 17:27 | 3012448 css1971
css1971's picture

Living in a shipping container is an indication of desperation.


Mon, 11/26/2012 - 18:06 | 3012543 FreeNewEnergy
FreeNewEnergy's picture

Fun reading. My current outlook is for a 100-foot long old barn and a 16-ft diameter silo on two acres.

My plan is to turn the silo into an observatory/smokehouse and build a house inside the old barn.

Most people look at the barn as an eyesore and figure it would need to be torn down to make way for another 3500 square foot house which nobody really needs.

I look at the barn and see opportunity - half house, half workshop, half interior growing area (sorry, that's three halves). Did I mention the barn is 20 feet high and suitable for solar panels?

No need for a shipping container, though I could put one out on the lawn and rent it out, I suppose. Might ruin the view (and my privacy), though.


Mon, 11/26/2012 - 19:14 | 3012770 Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

Hardly anything revolutionary! - since 2005 (and pretty comfortable too from personal experience!)

As for Australia - "Home to the World's Biggest Housing PRICE Bubble" acc. to some, seems we're already on the path to "more affordable housing" - - a DIY guide to your "Future Home"; - Hardly "Budget" at up to $48K PLUS delivery . . . . , and just waiting to sell you a used one too.

Plenty of "Home Build" forums out there, so maybe this IS a "Growing Industry"!!

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 19:34 | 3012829 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

if they float... they're ironically imported chinese 'junks', and a great home for 'sandy's' abandoned 'boat people' --- lets give the waterway's a name, shall we... 'staten island boat trolls',  'manhattan`be'e' boat people', or 'jersey shore-leas't boat people'... so many names for our new 'subway`ob'terranean`waterfare?

you go obie!

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 20:03 | 3012915 abgary1
abgary1's picture

The Chinese can build 30 story hotels in 15 days and the world's tallest building in 6 months at a price of $1500/m2,

can container condos compete with that?

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 21:44 | 3013154 Youri Carma
Mon, 11/26/2012 - 23:45 | 3013428 Northern Lights
Northern Lights's picture

Wouldn't it be much simpler to just rent a storage shed/closet at one of those U-Store rental places and live in there??

Some of those places have washrooms.  One of these closets usually rents for $100 a month.


Tue, 11/27/2012 - 01:44 | 3013612 EZYJET PILOT
EZYJET PILOT's picture

Is the TPTB containment strategy?

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