Hey buddy… Is that a box in your backyard?

6 Jan

Like everybody else, I made a few New Year’s Resolutions and I’ll probably reveal a few of them here on the blog.

For instance, here’s one;

New Years Resolution #22

Show readers of RR ways to use ISBUs in “daily life” to provide comfort and shelter for “peanuts” while they still live in “suburbia”.

I saw this a while back, while reading about the work that SEED was doing in Haiti.

(At the time, we were prepping ISBU based Medical Centers for Haiti ourselves)

Anyway, SEED threw this up on their pages;


Okay. Take that same premise and do this in your backyard and you have a gazebo, pool house, play house, crash pad, teenager exile, you name it, for almost no hard cash.

LOOK at the foundation for this monster. YOU could do this DIY.

Man, look how they used earthbags as foundation. I bet Owen Geiger would have a fit! 🙂

Would I make a few changes?

Sure. And if this gets any real interest, I’ll show you how to step this up a notch for ‘near nothing’.

Here’s some more stuff about SEED (Hey, they’re good souls doing good work):

From their own website;

SEED is an emergent housing investment that appreciates locally over time!

Utilizing an existing surplus of shipping containers and working with industry partners including Container -it, Intermodal Steel Building Units Association, Sargent Metals, and Tri-County Technical, Clemson University designers from the Department of Architecture and the Department of Landscape Architecture are researching and developing an affordable housing solution for the Caribbean Region.  Caribbean nations inherently import more goods than they export generating a steady surplus of shipping containers.  Shipping containers are designed to carry massive amounts of cargo and withstand extreme weather conditions making them a logical housing component.  Completely constructed of steel and reinforced with eight corner post moment connections and corrugated steel walls a 40′ shipping container can carry 67,200 pounds and resist overturn when exposed to winds up to 140 mph.  Without modification a 40′ shipping container has 304 square feet of floor space and eliminates problems associated with insects, fire, and hurricanes.  With modification a 40′ shipping container can be a safe, comfortable, and environmentally friendly home for numerous local inhabitants who would otherwise have less.

Designing a process and not an outcome the team has decidedly chosen the seed and its symbiotic-propagation as an analog.  Thinking time based and considering logistics the beginning design has emerged as a system of event based solutions capable of providing immediate housing after hurricanes or natural disasters.  local intervention and materials eventually developing into permanent and investment with a local identity.  Utilizing local skills, labor, and materials the final design is dynamic taking on a symbiotic relationship with the local cultures.  Eventually the ubiquitous container is embedded and made permanent providing an investment that can appreciate with time.

-Plant some SEEDs!

Um… that reminds me. Have you thought about your vegetable gardens lately? You’re running out of time and seed is just flying off the shelves of suppliers.

What if you cut the corrugated steel paneling off one end of the box, and then glazed it with plastic sheeting? Instant Greenhouse. You could play on one side and grow produce on the other!

Not to mention the fact that you could reuse that removed corrugated steel as deck cover!

And before you ask, YES, I think the ISBU cantilevers and stacking patterns displayed on their site are um.. well… risky. But I’m not the one doing it. 😉

Stay tuned.


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One Response to “Hey buddy… Is that a box in your backyard?”

  1. Jeremiah January 6, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    awesome post! I love hearing about arch students taking the initiative to investigate ways to use architecture to better their fellow man. And not just for relief housing and emergency shelters either, but for housing in general. We need more experiments and investigations like this to fuel an ongoing conversation about housing – what it really means, how to build high quality/low cost, sustainability and livability in all sectors of society from the most poor to the most affluent.

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