Container Homes Have Arrived And Are Here To Stay
As a child, we all have played with Legos and blocks and created interesting shapes, designs and built houses of our choice. A similar story is being weaved in real life, too. Container homes, a concept which is gaining traction in countries that are battling space crunch, are proving to be an effective tool to overcome housing scarcity.
What are container homes?
Container homes are an innovative concept wherein a steel structure, ship structures, basically, is transformed into a living space. These huge containers which are as big as a single floor of a home are stacked and joined to make multiple storeys. In many countries, containers homes are quite popular for their sheer durability and strength. And, what is the best pasrt? These do not have any adverse effect on the environment. Container homes are generally built using containers of two standard sizes — 20x8 ft and 40x8 ft.
Why is the trend here to stay?
Across the world, container homes have gained popularity over the years. Such homes have now become one the trendiest spaces when it comes to architecture and design. But, will this trend stay for long? The answer is yes; container homes are here to stay for a multitude of reasons.
A roof for homeless: Internationally, many non-government organisations have been using the concept to built low-cost housing. For instance, a two-storey container home that was launched in January this year houses Orange County's homeless veterans in California. There are 16 apartments in the building that are equipped with basic necessities. This structure is California's first shipping-container apartment building.
Movability: Container homes can be moved to different locations, an advantage other housing concepts do not enjoy. This is precisely the reason why they are popular mode of housing in the US military . These homes are equipped with best of technology and medicines the forces need.
Also read: All You Need To Know About Prefab Homes
Fighting housing shortage: Housing shortage is common across all major countries in the world. While the countries have set long-term goals of providing housing to all, container homes can act as a quick fix. Just like prefabricated homes, containers as a frame can be transported to the spot, where the building has to be set up. These can be easily stacked and then the final installations can be made. For instance, Montainer, a manufacturer of container homes, is trying to solve Portland's housing shortage. A typical Montainer unit with less than 1,000 square foot costs between $80,000 and $120,000.
Fighting natural calamities: We are unaware about what course the nature takes in future. In such a scenario, one of the prime needs is to provide shelter to the displaced and container homes are just the answer. These homes, easy to assemble, can be a quick relief for those hit by a calamity.
Cheaper accommodation: The concept came as a boon for students in Amsterdam. The Wenckehof, a student housing complex that was opened in 2006 in the Dutch city, is made up of 1,000 shipping containers. According to a report by The Guardian, a student in 2015 reported that he paid €450 a month in rent and qualifies for a €140 monthly housing subsidy at the same time. This is much cheaper than the €600 a month rent that students on an average pay for a shared accommodation in central Amsterdam.
There is another student housing complex in Copenhagen, named The Urban Rigger, that provides affordable and sustainable homes with amenities, including a courtyard, kayak landing, a bathing platform, a barbeque area and a communal roof terrace. The 15 studio residences in the structure are constructed using nine containers placed in a circle. The structure also features energy-saving components such as hydro-source heating, solar panels and low-energy pumps.
Easy on pocket
Not recommended for hot climate
Needs building permits
Cargo spillage or damage
The Indian connect
Though India's first container home was built in Bengaluru five years back, container homes are still a new concept. While mobile offices, mobile medical services and mobile classrooms are becoming popular, container homes have yet to become a part of the Indian housing story. Not that things are not changing already. According to a report by The Times of India, interior designer Neeraj Khandelwal is designing container homes for high-net-worth individuals in South Delhi and Gurgaon. According to him, people are making an addition in their farmhouses in areas such as Chhatarpur.
Another example is a studio apartment in Pune created by Dhara Kabaria, an interior designer. She had purchased a container from the Bombay Port Trust for the purpose. The complete process took eight weeks and cost a total of Rs 15 lakh.