From: E.Q. Lam, Sierra Club Green Home, More from this Affiliate
Published August 12, 2011 01:16 PM

Home in a Box: Cargo Container Dwellings

Cargo containers—those giant, steel, rectangular boxes most often seen hitching a ride on a train, truck, or ship—hold a myriad of industrial goods. But now the shipping container itself is a house. Cargotecture is a modular home that is portable, off the grid, and made of recycled materials. HyBrid Architecture | Assembly designs sustainable living spaces in cargo containers and coined the term "cargotecture" to describe these novel structures.


"You can essentially press a button and order a house shipped to you—within eight weeks," said Joel Egan, principal architect at HyBrid.

HyBrid showed off its c192 Nomad model home at the recent Pacific Coast Builders Conference in San Francisco. The Nomad can last 400 years, Egan said. The firm focuses on maximizing the efficiency of the cargo container space. The Nomad dwelling spans eight feet wide, 192 square feet in all, and the price for its design and manufacture starts at $59,500. Customized options include solar panels, composting toilets, water collection decks, and additional doors.

"This represents the beginning of a system that we’re offering," Egan said. "It's sort of predesigned, but it allows different containers, different sizes—homes and offices—to plug into each other, to stack essentially like Legos [sic] any way the client wants to do it."

Aside from being combined to create larger spaces, this sustainable dwelling can be an addition in the back yard as a home office or a guesthouse that sleeps up to four people. It can also be used as a self-contained vacation retreat in the mountains.

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