Highlights on Designing Shipping Container Homes

16 Dec

As many of you know, Alex is having a difficult time of it, healing from a recent health setback. Friday’s tragic events in Newtown, CT (the senseless murder of so many young children and their teachers)  hit him pretty hard.

(Alex lost his wife and his young son to violence many years ago. As a  result, Friday’s tragedy hit him even harder, like a sledgehammer to his already ailing heart. )

He spent yesterday (Saturday) in bed, resting. We know that much is true, as we insisted that he turn off his phone and computer and “get some much needed sleep”…

As America faces a new year, we’re getting a lot of questions about “HOW” ISBUs will play a role in developing housing for the middle class and urban/rural poor.

Alex talks a LOT about how important GOOD Architectural Design is, particularly when creating solutions in housing.

He makes it clear that discussions with families interested in integrating ISBUs (shipping containers) into their residential projects must include conversations about the complexities faced when working to improve the quality of the home by focusing on solid architectural processes, once you’ve “defined and refined”  your actual placement of the project in relationship to the environment and the sun.

This is particularly important when working on projects targeting the urban and rural middle class and our poor.  

Consulting sessions MUST highlight and then integrate new process ideas and fresh approaches, in order to enhance the living standards of the families actually building these Corten Steel homes.

The very same ideology holds true in our development of transitional, emergency and replacement housing after disasters. We MUST find ways to use ingenious and cost effective construction processes and materials to our advantage, narrowing the gap between the “haves” and the “have not’s”.

Alex calls this the “Bottom Billion” factor.

It is Alex’s goal to integrate “practice and product” to advantage, often using recycled or repurposed materials in unorthodox ways, helping families build solid, safe, sustainable homes, on reasonable, realistic “middle class family” affordable budgets. The home’s actual location matters little, he integrates the same principles in New Zealand, Australia, Africa, Japan, Russia, the Ukraine, Canada, and Central America  as he does in places like Los Angeles County, CA, using regional materials.

If Alex had a tattoo, we’re sure that it would read;

“Every Family Deserves a Safe Home.”

Many of those same concepts he espouses are used in our humanitarian aid endeavors as we design and build ISBU and “Hybrid’ homes and shelters for the world’s poor or displaced, in places like Haiti and Africa…

Geiger-Co-op Hybrid

As we spend most of the next few months (our calendar for the first quarter of 2013 is quickly filling up) speaking with (and then guiding) families preparing to build ISBU homes, we thought it might be helpful to show you “how we do what we do” so that you can capitalize on that process to achieve your goals successfully.

Over then next several weeks, we’ll begin “in-depth” conversations about HOW you design and build a sustainable ISBU home.

As I was writing this, I was reminded of this quote someone sent to us (by an attendee of the conference – a guy with a LOT of  “alphabet soup” after his name);

Recently overheard at the ISAUDC – (the International Sustainable Architecture and Urban Design Conference) where the speaker was illustrating “alternatives in sustainable architecture” especially as a response to natural disasters;

“… It’s really not all about dealing with governments or even Multi-National Architectural Houses. Oddly enough, it’s the “little guys” who roar the loudest. For example, where ISBU (Shipping Container) construction is concerned, American Alex Klein has demonstrated that he has more talent in one of his fingers than 99% of the other “Shipping Container/Corten Development Groups” on the planet…”

Shouted back from the audience;

“Yeah… I think that most of it resides in his middle finger…” LOL!

That’s our Alex…  A “David in the land of Goliath’s” 🙂

As we prepare for the Holidays, we ask that you remember the families of Newtown, CT in your prayers. The loss of a family member is horrific under any circumstances. The loss during a time of year that is supposed to focus on “Peace and Goodwill to Men…” is particularly traumatic.

May God bless these families as they begin the healing process. There are so many tears… so much pain… we pray that those affected by this terrible tragedy find peace…

Stay tuned.

: The Corten Crew


One Response to “Highlights on Designing Shipping Container Homes”

  1. Penny Nelson December 16, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Hope Alex is up and about soon. It has been a rough few days for everyone.

    I read his post a short while back about the women’s housing in Vancouver BC and the humungous cost per (container) unit. There was a local news story about it on TV, citing the cost as being around $85,000 per unit. Still ridiculous. I really hope he follows up on this story as to why on earth it’s costing so much.



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