Arizonans find homes in shipping containers In this Wednesday, March 16, 2016, photo, Patrick Tupas arrives at his shipping container apartment unit after work where he, his wife and dog live, in Phoenix. In the Containers on Grand project, the apartments are designed in a way that retains the corrugated metal exteriors. Each unit is made of two containers, but inside there are no signs of the cargo hauling days. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Arizonans find homes in shipping containers
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A stack of shipping containers sitting in a lot in an industrial section of Phoenix has some developers thinking inside the box.
 
The structures usually used to transport cargo have been transformed into eight apartments. Scuff marks, old serial numbers and shipping company logos remain. But a look inside each unit reveals a 740-square-foot modern home.
 
"It doesn't even feel like a shipping container. It's also insulated really well," said Patrick Tupas. He is in the Air Force and along with his wife signed a one-year lease for $1,000 a month. "It just feels like a regular apartment."
 
There was a downside, he said. Passers-by ask questions and sometimes press to see inside their home.
 
Housing and retail projects using the containers have popped up in recent years in Las Vegas, Detroit and Washington. Developers and cities want to cater to millennials and baby boomers who want to live closer to the cultural offerings in urban hubs.
 
To meet those needs, "cargotecture" has become a quick way to fill urban housing gaps.
 
"They are faster, cheaper and now potentially have much more of an aesthetic range," said Dana Cuff, director of cityLAB, a think tank at UCLA. It looks at architecture and urban growth. Some mask their shipping origins, but the ones in Phoenix don't, she said.
 
"They're celebrating them," Cuff said.
 
In the Containers on Grand project in Phoenix, the architecture firm, StarkJames, designed the apartments in a way that retained the corrugated metal exteriors. Each unit is made of two containers. Inside, there are no signs of the cargo hauling days.
 
The walls are painted white. The original wood flooring is encased in epoxy. There is enough space for a bedroom and living area.
 
The two rooms are connected by two separate hallways. One hallway has the kitchen, oven and some counter space. The other one has closet space and a nook. There is also a washer and dryer unit. Monthly rent averages about $1,000.
 
All but two of the eight units are occupied. One is being marketed as a vacation rental.
 
In Washington's Brookland neighborhood, university students and young professionals have been living in a four-story housing cluster since September 2014. In Las Vegas, containers make up the building blocks of a downtown retail complex.
 
In Detroit, Three Squared Construction is working on $14 million in new projects involving shipping containers because they save time. The company erected the city's first residential shipping-container development in April 2015.
 
The three-story building is used as a showcase with the top floor periodically rented out. CEO Leslie Horn said there's been a high demand among millennials and "empty-nesters."
 
With containers, they only save about 5 percent in lumber costs but even more in terms of time spent.
 
"You're saving a lot of time by getting it done faster," Horn said.
 
StarkJames, of Scottsdale, Ariz., is on track to build 12 more container homes in downtown Phoenix that will be stacked three-stories high. Despite the progress, they still get ribbing from others in the industry.
 
"We work with a lot of other developers," architect Brian Stark said. "They always ask 'How are the garbage can homes going?'"
 
But the firm is taking the teasing in stride. The downtown development will be called The Oscar after Oscar the Grouch, whose trash can makes him the only container-dweller on "Sesame Street."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why do shipping containers make good homes?
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COMMENTS (75)
  • elliota-orv
    5/18/2016 - 03:06 p.m.

    I think that it is cool that people have made homes out of things like empty shipping containers, this also gives the possibility to give homeless people a place to live.

  • calis-3-bar
    5/18/2016 - 03:23 p.m.

    Shipping containers make good homes for many reasons.The article states that shipping containers are, "faster, cheaper and now potentially have much more of an aesthetic range," said Dana Cuff, director of cityLAB, a think tank at UCLA. It looks at architecture and urban growth." Shipping containers are a quick way to provide housing for the ever growing population. It is also unique, which can lead many people to be interested in living in a shipping container. Another advantage of shipping container homes is that they are cost effective, and very cheap to mantain. I liked this article. SHipping containers seem like a very "hipster" place to live and I think it would be fun to see one in real life.

  • katherinec-3-bar
    5/18/2016 - 05:45 p.m.

    Shipping containers make a good place to live because they are really cheap to live in and have all the everyday necessities like washer and dryers. "They are faster, cheaper and now potentially have much more of an aesthetic range," said Dana Cuff in paragraph 6. I found this interesting because I wanted to know how you can make storage containers into a reliable living space. I chose this passage because when I went to Texas I saw a whole shopping mall that had been built by shipping containers.

  • tessf-6-bar
    5/18/2016 - 05:53 p.m.

    Shipping containers make good homes because they are easy to afford. The shipping containers have everything you need to live with and come at a reasonable price. It states in paragraph 6 that, "They are faster, cheaper and now potentially have much more of an aesthetic range," I found this interesting because I had never seen anyone live inside of a shipping container before.
    I choose this article because the picture made the container home look really aesthetically pleasing and I wanted to know how the containers could be transformed into sustainable living environments.

  • virginiam-2-bar
    5/18/2016 - 05:56 p.m.

    I think shipping containers make make good homes because they are sturdy. The walls are made of metal which can be helpful when it comes to keeping out water, bugs, or anything else people wouldn't want in their home.

    I found this artical cool because I am shocked that people would live in storage containers, however after reading it, the idea of living in storage containers doesn't sound that crazy.

  • grantm-2-bar
    5/18/2016 - 06:27 p.m.

    Shipping containers make good homes because they are quick and easy to make. They are only $1000 a month to rent. They have four walls a cieling and a wood floor already. They are stackable so you can build them quickly. This is why shipping containers are good homes.

  • cassiec-kut
    5/19/2016 - 07:46 a.m.

    ok I never knew that people could make homes out of shipping and it would be a great idea for poor people to have a home to live in like in Africa, india and more places

  • storyj-eag
    5/19/2016 - 09:47 a.m.

    This article was very interesting and i could see the sense behind it though I never thought that someone would prefer to live in a shipment container but i think might be a safe place to live in because well it 's a shipment container and shipment containers have to be pretty strong for them to go all around the world shipping things.

  • mellisam-eag
    5/19/2016 - 09:58 a.m.

    I think this is a really cool idea for the making of a house and if you like to recycle things like empty shipping containers.

  • kevinb-1-bar
    5/19/2016 - 10:19 a.m.

    Shipping containers make good homes because they have lots of rooms and they have everything you need to have in a house. The containers can be stacked on top of each other or just next to each other, so they can make two story homes as well. Many people can live in storage container homes because they come with a closet, kitchen, living room, bathroom, and a bedroom. Shipping containers also save home builders a lot of time, and money. When someone is building a brand new house, they have to buy supplies like wood, concrete and even construction workers, but storage containers only need Minor work like adding wooden floors, Windows, and maybe some walls. It says in the article, "The walls are painted white. The original wood flooring is encased in epoxy. There is enough space for a bedroom and living area.

    The two rooms are connected by two separate hallways. One hallway has the kitchen, oven and some counter space. The other one has closet space and a nook. There is also a washer and dryer unit. Monthly rent averages about $1,000." This just states what the inside of the house is like. What I thought about this article is that I like it and that I want to live in one of these houses!

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