Tag Archives: Emergency Housing

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

Are you ready for the Frankenstorm?

29 Oct

Like hundreds (if not thousands) of others…

… we’re up to our necks in alligators here at RR assisting our comrades at TBE

…while they work tirelessly assisting those providing disaster relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy. When crisis looms, you buck up and answer the call. Even when we’re on the road, we’re working. Frankly, we’re just glad that we’re not “right in the middle” of this one…

Thank heavens for cellphones, laptops, twitter and the ‘Net…

Here’s just a few of our updates from people we actually have on the ground (as of 2pm ET);

Hurricane force gusts – Norfolk, Va. 2 NYC.  Cat1 storm 2 produce dangerous storm surge – NE coast. Worst conditions expected 4 – 11p.m. ET.

Andrew Cuomo@NYGovCuomo
In case of power #outages in #LI, call National Grid (Long Island Gas): 1-800-490-0045 #sandy

Chicago – Starting to feel effects of Hurricane Sandy – East Coast storm – with heavy snow and waves off Lake Michigan over 20′ high.

Cleveland OH – Non-Stop rain with high winds. Flooding is beginning. Hurricane Sandy has teeth.

Boston, MA – Hurricane Sandy being felt.  Sustained 38mph winds with gusts to 52+mph.

Hurricane Sandy update – 125 miles SE of Atlantic CIty – 90mph winds and moving NW at 28mph.

Tom’s River, NJ – We have a daughter near here. Several inches of rain in last 24 hours. Steady rain for last hour with strong sustained winds gusting to 70+mph.

Weather Channel states that Hurricane Sandy will make landfall between 5:30 to 6pm ET somewhere along Jersey Shore. With any luck, Snooky and crew will get washed away… LOL!

Freeport, NY – Flooding begins.

East River, NY – Starting to overflow it’s banks. Flooding begins.

People, we go on and on about being prepared. It’s not because we’re “Boy Scouts”…

It’s because of times exactly like this. NE Stores are being systematically stripped to the bare walls by frightened families trying to get ready at the last minute. If they’d prepared earlier, carefully and slowly stocking cabinets and storage areas, they wouldn’t be out in the heavy weather looking for food and water to get them past what will be a very long week, at the least.

More importantly, they’d be SAFER, secure in their homes, avoiding the idiots and chaos that will undoubtedly occur.

Remember Hurricane Katrina? We do. We were at Ground Zero.

Thousands of families are already without power. In Long Island alone, 60,000 plus households are already blacked out. This is just the beginnings. There are already estimates that a MILLION households may be without power before this storm is over.

Local authorities are already telling families that they may be without power for WEEKS after Hurricane Sandy passes through. 

While we chip away at obstacles (and there are MANY). here’s some interesting reading;

In fact, if you’re a regular reader of TBE,  this is REQUIRED READING. Test to follow.

Extended ‘grid down’ survival scenario about to be unleashed across Eastern seaboard as storm of the century approaches

Sunday, October 28, 2012
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com

Millions of U.S. residents along the Eastern seaboard are expected to experience a “grid down” survival scenario beginning as early as Monday night. The “Frankenstorm” Hurricane Sandy is a convergence of multiple weather events rarely seen in human history. Most people living in the region have never seen a storm like this in their lifetime.

According to Weather.com, the storm brings together five weather events:

• A Northbound hurricane
• A winter storm front
• A blast of Arctic air from the North
• High tides that worsen flooding
• Combination of high winds and heavy snow

It is that last item which really brings home the reality of the situation. High winds and heavy snow mean downed power lines everywhere. And unlike previous storms you’ve seen where the power outages were localized and short-lived, in this scenario the damage is so geographically widespread that power line crews won’t be available to help neighboring regions. Everyone will be completely occupied trying to restore power in their own cities and towns.

This means the duration of the power outages will be much longer than usual. It is almost certain that millions of people will be without power due to the storm, but what many people don’t fully realize is that these power outages could last for weeks.

That’s why a weather.com article also warns “Expect near freezing temperatures with no power” and “be prepared for extended period without power.”

Make sure you read my Hurricane Sandy preparedness checklist if you’re wanting to know what to acquire before the storm hits.

Living without power

Most Americans have simply never lived without power for any extended period of time. No power means:

• No internet (OMG!)
• No TV (gasp!)
• No recharging cell phones.
• No hot showers.
• No laundry machines.
• No dishwashers.
• No heating of your home.
• No lights.
• No toasters or ovens.
• No computers.
• No radios unless you have a wind-up radio or spare batteries.

The widespread loss of power and extreme weather conditions will also mean, for some period of time:

• No police response services
• No fire response
• No ambulances

This means many people will simply be on their own during the worst part of this crisis. In a scenario like this, dialing 911 is a useless and almost delusional act. In addition to all this, New York City has announced it will close the subway system. Delivery companies have announced they will halt operations. Schools will be closed and much of modern society will grind to a halt during the storm. Much of the U.S. eastern seaboard is going to be thrust back into something resembling the 1800′s, but without the common sense and practical skills of the 1800′s.

FEMA will be called in to “help”

Have no doubt that FEMA will be called in from the very beginning, billed as a “government rescue” of all the people who failed to prepare. Remarkably, even though this storm has been identified many days ahead of time, there will still be people who fail to prepare for it, and some of them will simply die. (Yes, there will almost certainly be fatalities.)

Others will be caught in desperate situations and need to be bailed out by the government, via FEMA actions. Expect to see rapid distribution of food and blankets to residents in need — residents who were just too short-sighted to take precautions ahead of time like everybody else.

You’re also going to see medical emergencies galore. The stress of the situation alone will probably cause numerous heart attacks and strokes. Expect to see some car wrecks in the early hours as people try to rush home once the winds start howling. We’re also bound to see smoke inhalation victims thanks to a few people burning down their own homes trying to use propane burners (or masses of candles) as an indoor source of heat.

Rest assured that you do not want to put yourself in a situation where you depend on FEMA to rescue you. Such a predicament could be a death sentence. Remember FEMA’s disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina?

On looting and cold temperatures

Here’s one good thing about all this: Freezing temperatures discouraging looting.

There are two types of looters: Materialistic (just looking for stuff to steal and sell on eBay) and desperate (need food to survive).

Materialistic looters are, essentially, lazy-minded people. They want to acquire stuff without working for it. But they’re also not hard-core determined people who are willing to brave freezing temperatures and bad weather. Most looting, historically speaking, happens during HOT weather.

Desperate “survival” looters are not likely to be encountered in this storm, at least not in large numbers. The rise of desperate survival looters would likely require weeks without food and electricity, and I don’t anticipate that scenario unfolding here unless something goes terrible wrong with the recovery response.

So I think we’re going to be relatively well off on the looting question, generally speaking. In my assessment, the most likely threats to physical safety during the storm are going to be the freezing temperatures and lack of food or water.

Read more of this article, HERE.

Life on Mars – or the Mississippi River…

10 Jun

Greetings, Campers!

In Joplin, we’re still struggling, trying to provide aid to families in the aftermath of the tornado that tore the heart out of Missouri. Many, many families are still trying to figure out their next steps as they continue to try and salvage anything they can, after Mother Mature vented her wrath.
As the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers continue to swell to overflowing…
Families try to recover, sitting on high ground watching their lives get washed downriver.
The Banks of the Mississippi River look like a disaster area, as most areas affected remain in a heightened state of emergency.
In Montana, Sheriff Leo Dutton said, “The water may peak tonight, but it’s going to peak in the higher elevations, not in the lower elevations. If you have water or are expecting water we’re going to get more water in the Valley. You can expect more groundwater, in other words your basements are going to get water.”

Floodwaters in the Helena Valley are now heading north and east…

And that means more and more families will soon be treading water.

We’re already hard at work with aid agencies, developing “Response Housing” for families caught between water and wind.

We ARE  building an ISBU/Earthbag Hybrid home as a prototype. 

In cooperation with guys like “Dr. Genius” – Dr. Owen Geiger (a guy I usually refer to as “Mr. Earthbag”)… 

This home, which I’ve talked about earlier, will allow a small family to actually take shelter in the ISBU Core of the home as they build out the walls, using earthbags (and every relative/volunteer they can muster).

They aren’t “temporary” homes or FEMA trailers fraught with horror stories.

These are honest to goodness “permanent homes”, small in footprint but HUGE on delivered safety and energy efficiency. More importantly, they’re inexpensive to build using local materials and the sweat of your brow….

We’re working on ISBU “modular homes” that will allow families to obtain “pre-configured”  ISBU units (pre-configured as bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens). Once transported to site, they can be assembled in several configurations, allowing the creation of  Corten Steel homes in very short periods of time.

Beyond that, many of our Corten Cavalry Members are working on “Response Housing.”

I thought that I’d give you a look at some of the homes we’ll be talking about in the weeks to come.

Much can be said for “envelope building.”

Building in an envelope means exactly that. What if you built a gambrel BARN large enough to harbor ISBUs inside?

Here’s what Craig Moorhouse (one of our most esteemed members of the “Corten Cavalry”) has been thinking about:

Craig says:

Take (2) 20ft ISBU  10ft apart (simular to Paul Stankey’s Holyoke Container Cabin) – gambrel roof ( needs window dormers near the back) and a 27dia. corrugated, grain bin sidewall semicircle at the back of the structure that has a circular gambrel roof ( which would be kind of like a fez hat cut in half).

The semi circle corrugated wall would hold its shape with vertical channel stiffeners bolted to the sidewall on the inside of the structure – and lag bolted to the cement pad. circular pipes can be bolted to the stiffeners with u-bolts above the windows to make the structure super strong.

 The rounded back of the home would work to shed the cold northern winds of winter. This area would be great for storage – laundry – mech. room – This area of the house would be kept cooler then the rest so it would also make a great place to put a freezer.

There is a 4′ x 36′ space between the semi circle and the square front of the house – two doors, one on the west and one on the east – one as a downstairs access to the outside and other as a stair entrance to the top floor ( a separate entrance to the two “granny flat” living spaces upstairs).
I think this design would give great flexibility in living space organization – still a work in progress but I was wondering what you thought of it?
Let’s talk about this a little bit. Start thinking out of the box, campers. Imagine an ISBU home that get’s immediate shelter, upon it’s arrival to your site. Perhaps even by placing the boxes inside a pre-insulated space, removing ALL the difficulty of having to insulate “Corten Steel Cavities”…
And remember, you can still reserve your copy of my new book;
100% of the proceeds will be put to use immediately, helping families in crisis as they begin to recover.
They NEED our help and WE’RE going to give it to them. To do less… well, that’s just not thinkable.

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.

A Corten Commune? Whaaa?? ;)

27 Apr

Some quick thoughts as we take a breath…

We’re busy organizing and gathering aid for some families in Mississippi that just got pounded by Mother Nature. She must really be mad at Mississippi… First, multiple Hurricanes, and now Tornadoes that ravaged entire communities.

Yep, I guess that tornadoes aren’t just for Kansas and girls named Dorothy… Recently, Mississippi (and Louisiana and Alabama as well) got pounded by the devils.

And once again, people are homeless and in need of fast emergency housing, while they try to figure out what happens next…

As more and more of those people start thinking “about the road ahead”…

I’m being asked more and more about how you can build something “reasonable” for a small family, without killing yourself financially in the process. Nobody wants those FEMA “death-trailers…”

And I don’t blame them.

You’ve probably already seen my ideas for using larger containers to build “dorm-style mini-homes” for site workers in Haiti.


Can you build a small “cluster” community out of 20′ ISBUs?


The best way to cut expenses is to spread the costs out between the families. Right? So…

First, build a separate series of bath/shower containers, and pair them up with small “residential” units built from 20′ High Cube shipping containers.

It would be easy to build several toilet facilities, enclosed shower units, and even stacked laundry units into a single 20′ box, that could just be dropped into place to provide immediate relief from the wrath of Ole’ Mom Nature…  You could even put solar panels on the roof to heat the water… Easy. And… since we’re talking about panels, add a panel or two to power light systems.

(Yes, I realize that adding laundry units means generating more power, like by using a small portable generator…)

Now, since you wouldn’t have a bath and shower in each family unit…

You’d have plenty of space for a small kitchenette, a fold down bunk system and some comfortable living area, that is sheltered from any further storm activity.

Build (1) bath unit for (4) Family units, and you’d have an instant “settlement” that could be dropped off the back of flatbed truck beds, onto precast concrete blocks.

Okay, so maybe it’s fast, but say people don’t wanna share baths…

And, hey… nobody likes to hike for a  CBF – “communal bathroom facility” at all hours of the night, so why now just nestle one between two 20′ residential units, to form a big “U” by running One 20′ High Cube across the back, between the two opposed (sleeping) ISBUs.

Now you have big apartment sized baths back to back, and water easily reached on both side, for kitchens, and even a huge greenhouse that would fill that big hole you just created.

Now, drop another 20′ High Cube ISBU on top of your pair of opposed units, and you have a second floor, to use as a big bedroom loft.

Voila, now it’s not “emergency housing… It’s “instant apartments.”  11′ kitchens, normal sized baths, a neat LR/DR area, and a cool loft bedroom overlooking a lush greenhouse filled with produce and life-giving plants, year round!

Now, go a step further.

What say we place that whole shooting match on an insulated slab, and then earth berm around the outsides of it? What do you get for all that effort? You get a pair of semi-underground homes, without much digging. Now, think about the possibilities. Like for instance, radiant in floor heating.

All you need is a bunch of cinderblocks, some rebar, and some concrete. And PEX tubing… Lots of PEX.

(PEX tubing is what you use to run your hot water thru, to heat your slab.)

Now you have great South Exposure, protection from the cold North, and you’ve done it all yourself, over a series of weekends.

Okay, now take that same idea, and build a single family home.

U shaped ISBU structure, 2 levels high.

20′ x 28′ foot two story room in the center, complete with Island Kitchen and Washer/Dryer area.

Now you have 4 bdrms, 4 bathrooms (including (1) common bath on the first floor, an office, a banquette seating area, (2) small decks, and enough great room for a decent woodstove.

Put a standing seam metal roof over it, in that hipped shape that I’m so fond of…

Instant home.
Just add water.
And power.
And AC.
And Insulation… don’t forget the SPF!

All for the low, low price of… um… er… how much ya got? 😉

Gimme a day or two to get things here under control, and I’ll draw something out, to demonstrate exactly what I’m talking about. I can see it in my head, but you really don’t wanna go there… 😉

Stay tuned.

The Quad-48 Project – 4 Houses – 1 Container

15 Feb

Greetings, Campers!

I was recently approached (yet again) to tender a view on how Emergency Housing (Medium to Long Term) could be provided to places that already had shipping ports in their immediate vicinity.

Remember that there are many situations beyond the:

“Oh My Gawd, Martha! Ruuuuuun! A Twister is coming!”

Our forefathers moved out into the middle of nowhere, and started new Towns, Cities, and States, simply by establishing a secure starting point, and then scratching at the ground until they started seeing something that looked like progress.

Let’s say you were somewhere like… um… Port Au Prince, Haiti. And, let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that Mother Nature got mad at you, and then knocked the stuffing out of you. And let’s say that you were bringing people in, to help re-establish the infrastructure, and you needed to house them quickly and securely.

They wanted:

[quote] “some kind of cheap, sturdy, housing with a roof system that could ‘catch water.’ And Oh Yeah… each unit has to have it’s own kitchen and bath. You know, like a camper or a FEMA trailer.” [unquote]

That was the extent of the criteria. Seriously. No;

“I want X square feet, hot and cold running caviar, satin sheets, and a butler… “

Here’s my response;

(Please accept my apologies in advance… no Butler.)

The QUAD-48 Project:

Designer: Alexander Klein – Contain Home Consultants, Inc.

Question: How do you provide “all-weather” worker housing in an expeditionary setting?

And, further… how do you provide “emergency housing” in a high speed mode, once safety zones have been cleared, established and secured?

Answer: The same way. But not with FEMA trailers, unless you like formaldehyde.

You use insulated steel shipping containers.

Here’s a really straightforward “Little House on Corten Steroids” design.

Take (1) 48′ High Cube ISBU Container – 8’6″ wide, and section it off into (4) small residences.

Let’s address the roof first, since we’re going to “inhabit” it…

There are 2 main kinds of shapes that a roof can assume; gable or hipped.

The difference between them is pretty easily explained: The difference lies in both the “slope-line” of the sides of the roof, and the “roof-to-wall junction”.

Gable shaped roofs are probably the ones that you’re the most used to seeing. They are defined by the meeting of two straight slopes from the ridge of the roof, falling all the way to its eave. The result is the creation of a peak or triangular shaped structure on either the side or face of the facade. It’s just a “big A”. The side of the gabled house on which this peak is seen is called a “rake”, and the side on which the slope is seen is called an “eave”.

In contrast, hipped-roofs have an even roof-to-wall junction, as the roof plane is broken along the slope line, allowing for an easy wrap around the building’s structure. As a result, hipped shaped roofs also have eaves on all sides. This is good, and you’ll see why later.

On a hip roof, all the sides of its roofing slope down towards the walls of the building. The hip itself is “the angle at which the slopes of the roofing meet,” and the degree of this angle is called the “hip bevel”. The triangular slopes that meet the rectangular ones at the roof’s ridge are known as the “hip ends”, and these are actually by the hips themselves. Hip roofs can be tailored to many differently shaped structures, yet their ridges will always be central to the rectangular building below it, and the four faces of the roof will always have the same pitch.

Look at the difference in the framing. Hipped roofs are highly suitable for extreme weather conditions, because the shape of a hipped roof, along with its complex internal framing, braces it against strong winds, snow loads, and even hurricanes.

And, you can change it up just a little bit, if you want. In our case, the use of a “modified hipped” roof also creates more comfortable usable space in the sleeping loft area of each unit. Essentially, we’re going to slice the top of the roof off, to make it flat. This creates a broad surface on top of the structure that can be utilized.

So, we install the “modified hip roofs” on top of the ISBU, with a 2′ soffit overhang on each side. Then, we use a SIP/SSMR  (Structural Insulated Panel/Standing Seam Metal Roof) system for a high speed and extremely tough roof.  Why a big overhang? Well, that 2′ overhang protects the structure against both AND and rainfall.

The top of the roof structure (we sliced the top off, remember?) is going to be used to create a solar/PV  (photovoltaic) farm.  This placement prohibits theft or damage, and optimizes exposure to the sun.

Note that the sloped surfaces of metal roofing are to be used for water collection/retention.

This design provides independent housing for 4-8+ people with sleeping lofts accessed via a rolling “bookcase” staircase housed in a notch by the sofa. Clothing storage is incorporated into the loft area. A couple with a small child could also be housed – per unit – by simply using a convertible sofa as a bed.

The use of the “Modified Hip” roof creates a volume ceiling in the main area, giving the unit an airy ambiance, and it provides ample room for a ceiling fan.

Sofa back table provides “hidden” storage, and a place to set drinks, plants, et all…

Swing out wall mounted LCD TV’s allow entertainment.

“Dual Striker door” allows bathroom to be used conventionally. A second striker plate is provided at ninety degrees, at the entrance to the kitchen. By doing this, if someone is in the kitchen, you can still close and lock the bathroom door.

However, if you need a place to get dressed or need to use the sink for shaving, etc… you can close the door at the kitchen opening, in effect allowing the entire floor area of kitchen to be closed off and used as an annexed “dressing area.”

A small “shelf-type” pull-out table forms a “laptop desk” workstation by the front door.

A wall mounted drop-down table forms living room table/eating area.

Stateside,  a group of “sweat-equity contributing” families could build these for under $30,000.00 (USD) a piece, easy…


Desired but not shown – A bay window in each unit would allow the personal growth of herbs for food/medicinal purposes.

Also not shown – a Utility/Laundry Room is to be added to the East end of Container Housing Module under a covered porch structure.  The existing Bathroom provides service access and hose bibs. If you used a 53′ ISBU, you’d get an additional enclosed space at the end of each container that could be used as a common utility/laundry facility, at minimal cost. Hot water heater and mechanicals could easily be located here. The original “cargo double doors” would secure it.

But wait… there’s more…

Stay tuned!