This livable container trend finds its origins in the late 1960s, when Reyner Banham wrote an essay about container ports and their representation of technological advances found in cities. Banham compared shipping containers to a “plug-and-play” type of building design, lauded for their industrial-style metabolist and simplified style. Decades later, the inaugural shipping container home was designed in 1987 by Phillip Clark, who patented his personal procedure of morphing these raw, steel boxes into livable spaces. Becoming more popular with time, shipping containers have become a part of design, depending on their cost effectiveness and basic structures.
Folks favour shipping container residences because of their claim of sustainability. But are they? Shipping containers are, in their essence, small and dark. It costs quite a bit to morph boxes into homes. But how much?
A DIY container home costs between $22-32,000 USD. Considering that the land cost falls between $5,000-10,000 USD per acre, the actual fees to pay contractors for the labour required to build the home, the expenses of permitting, plumbing and electricity installation, and other miscellaneous expenses, then a shipping container house might cost as much as $100,000 USD. While less expensive than the typical cost of a house in the United States (which costs approximately $385,000 USD), most shipping container houses measure nearly 320 square feet. When estimated at the cost per square foot, they compare at a more costly price than houses in some of the most expensive cities in the United States. It takes money and time to make a box into a home.
Still and all, the appeal of shipping container houses lies in their aesthetic appeal; the art of morphing everyday objects into domiciles. Many people have found great happiness and function in container homes; and it will be exciting to see what comes next in the tiny house movement.