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Friday, June 24, 2011

The Container of Hope: Designed For People, Not Stuff

by Lloyd Alter

container of hope benjamin garcia saxe photo
Images credit Benjamin Garcia Saxe, used with permission

Shipping containers were designed for stuff, not humans, and by the time architects finish adapting them for people there often isn't much left of them. But they are cheap and plentiful, and architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe has managed to adapt a pair of 40' containers so that humans can be very comfortable indeed.

container of hope benjamin garcia saxe photo interior

It is economical too; the whole thing cost $ 40,000. The key move here is that he has cut out almost the entire side wall of the container, and set the two boxes far enough apart that the spaces are now appropriately scaled

container of hope benjamin garcia saxe photo roof

He then uses the material cut out from the side to make the roof,


Turning it into a clerestory window that brings in light and lets out hot air.

container of hope benjamin garcia saxe photo living

He takes a pretty good chunk of the exterior walls out as well, replacing them with glazing. The result doesn't feel like the inside of a shipping container at all.

container of hope benjamin garcia saxe photo landscape

Benjamin describes the process:

Gabriela Calvo and Marco Peralta dreamed of living in their fantastic property outside of the city of San Jose, where they could be with their horses and enjoy the natural landscape whilst being 20 minutes away from the city. They made the very bold choice of exploring with me the possibility of creating a very inexpensive house out of disregarded shipping containers that allowed them to be dept free and live the life they always wished for.

container of hope benjamin garcia saxe photo bedroom

It was important for me to provide them with the sunrise, the sunset, the spectacular views, and overall try and create a feeling of comfort and home. A roof between the two containers, made from the scrap pieces of metal taken to make the windows, not only creates an internal sensation of openness but also provides a cross ventilation which is surprisingly sufficient enough to never have to turn the air conditioning on.

container of hope benjamin garcia saxe photo night

Very nicely done, and beautifully photographed as well. More at Benjamin Garcia Saxe.

container of hope benjamin garcia saxe photo installation

But I do wonder why they painted the BIC code out of the container identification number. Is it like taking the plates off a car? On the brown box, the missing letters are FSCU.

More on shipping container architecture
Cargotecture Lands At Sunset Celebration
Can Green Design Be Dumb Design?
Shipping Containers Being Used Everywhere for Everything
The Shipping Container Scene in 2010