January 27th, 2013

FabCab – a little expensive, but beautifully gorgeous. And still cheaper than a full-on house. A nice addition to a middle-sized house on a large-enough plot of land.

ShelterKit – not as fancy as the FabCabs, but cheaper.

August 29th, 2012

or, the cult of the shipping container building.


Office Space

google image-search

DesignBoom: metalab: SPACE shipping container office also at inhabitat. Can’t find a price online, but may possibly be cc. $75K (Houston bought 17 by using a $1.3 million grant).

Inhabitat: Shipping Containers Transform Warehouse Into Office Space

A steel cargo container becomes a backyard retreat

$1800 used shipping container as architects’ backyard office

I must have first seen something like this in Stewart Brand’s How Buildings Learn (online excerpt)


DailyGreen: Amazing Homes and Offices Built from Shipping Containers (slideshow)
All Terrain Cabin (for a family of four)
(sixth item in slideshow)

Canada’s Bark Design Collective built the All Terrain Cabin (ATC) as a showcase for sustainable (and Canadian!) ingenuity. The small home is based on a standard shipping container, and is said to be suitable for a family of four, plus a pet, to live off the grid in comfort and style.

The cabin folds up to look like any old shipping container, and can be sent via rail, truck, ship, airplane or even helicopter. When you’re ready to rest your bones, the cabin quickly unfolds to 480 square feet of living space, with a range of creature comforts.

[NOTE: the link goes to some other photos of the ATC, none of which are in “nature.” But neither is the one above, which looks like a rendering/Photoshop job.]
More info in waybackmachine and photos.

dornob: DIY Used Cargo Homes & Shipping Container House Plans
House built from 8 stacked containers (self-designed)

8 eye-catching shipping container homes

Inhabitat: This Shipping Container home in Duluth, MN hasn’t revamped the container exteriors at all, and it sorta works. Don’t think my wife would go for this look, though.
Holyoke Cabin in Duluth, MN


Wikipedia: Shipping container architecture

How to find used shipping containers

How to Find and Buy Good Used Cargo Containers

See Also:

August 28th, 2012

In lieu of a simple, spacious, modernist house that I can never afford (nor talk my wife into), I’d like a little cabin “out back.”

If I had a Ted Kaczynski cabin with a wood-stove, solar power + batteries, pumped/rain water, lanterns, and a typewriter (plus space for a laptop), I could still write/make stuff that is somehow NOW, not a 19th century leftover.

I still have lingering fears/doubts about the future, leftover 1980s concerns over the collapse of civilization that we excreted into all of those Road Warrior movies, only now it’s come back to haunt us with the econopocalypse and DNS malware botnets. There is some future in going off the grid, but being aware of the grid, and dealing with the grid, and trying to encourage the grid to be griddish and non-griddish, to be discrete, interconnected and disconnected, re-routable and not dependent on the electrons, and able to self-repair with some non-digital components, to repair itself in the dark, and to survive things.

Plus, you know, the NSA can’t read what you type and pass around by hand. The old Soviet samizdat……

hoo-hah! paranoia! rants! mad bombers! are there enough keywords in here yet?

Seriously, I’d like a little cabin out back, with some power and a cable-internet connection. But with some solar panels, a bike/wind generator, hand-pump well, lamps, etc. And space for some bookshelves and a manual typewriter. And a nice porch-cum-deck, so we could grill back here, and enjoy some days away from the television. It would be cheaper than expanding the house. Although we don’t own it.

and then there are all of the we-love-humid-connecticut bugs.

and, ugh, spiders.


This is a small link-dump of some things I’ve seen recently.

Maine cabin, off-the-grid

The Bellomo House Arc is a small, beautiful pre-fab. And supposedly $65K for a single module.

A clean-line cabin in Wisconsin.

A solar yurt. Not so sure about the whole “round” thing. Nature is curvy because things grow; our products are rectilinear because it’s easier to cut straight lines and 90-degree angles.

See Also: some specifics on cargo-container homes.

I’ve thought about trailers, etc., and while they hit the size and price-point (due to mass-production), the actual use of transport to me seems inefficient. How much gas does it take to haul one of those things around? Does it really offset the cost of a decent motel?

Buying one and using it in a permanent location seems like a mis-fit — they were designed to be mobile, and are built for such a purpose. I’d like something more solid. But, if the mass-produced cost-offset of a designed-to-be-portable-but-keeps-it-parked-in-the-woods is they way to go, that could be a way to go.

MOBILE HOMES ARE NOT AN OPTION. There’s just something icky about them. I’d so much rather go with a re-purposed shipping container.

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