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, who 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 as developers and cities try 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 that 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, but 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?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (15)
  • reidi-4-bar
    5/19/2016 - 03:35 p.m.

    In Phoenix Arizona 8 shipping containers sitting on a lot are being turned into modern homes on the inside. the outside will keep its look as a shipping container. Modern designers got the idea when they saw the containers sitting there untouched. I think that it is very cool that there are always new ideas for homes.

  • zeusr-3-bar
    5/19/2016 - 07:41 p.m.

    Shipping containers make good homes because they offer a good 740-square-foot modern home. As stated in paragraph 3 "Patrick Tupas, who 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."

    I think this is great because these containers might be used to keep the homeless safe and letting them have shelter.

  • jacks-6-bar
    5/19/2016 - 10:31 p.m.

    Shipping containers make good homes because they make an altogether convenient architectural style. The directer of cityLAB (a UCLA organization) Dana Cuff says "They are faster, cheaper and now potentially have much more of an aesthetic range." Building average houses can be quite a consumer of resources, not to mention being quite costly. Shipping container housing, however, recycles cheaper, more common resources, not even having to take up any more of them, let alone the countless components the average home must bear. As Cuff says, it a tremendously better alternative in numerous ways. It also makes housing considerably more affordable; one family rented out 2 containers for a year lease for simply $1,000 a month. For this, the get a small but luxurious, fully furnished, concept modern apartment-like structure, which one can live in and adapt to easily (and with style as well). Being a speedy build, shipping containers open more housing in general to other Arizonans, not to mention the public. The aesthetic areas of humans expand in the field of modern architecture; the interior and the contrasted exterior is an abstract yet ingenious thought. All in all, shipping containers as homes would be immensely beneficial.
    I found the article fascinating, interesting, and intriguing. I, being a fan of architecture, loved reading on the clever advancements of it, as well as the many new stylings being introduced. It was neat how something as simple as shipping containers could be used to such a wondrous, convenient and beneficial effect.

  • oscarb-1-bar
    5/19/2016 - 11:00 p.m.

    The shipping containers make good homes because they are very spacious and cheap. In the article it states, "a look inside each unit reveals a 740-square-foot modern home." This shows lots of room for people in a very normal but yet less costly environment. The hoses hold lots of room for people and they can be fit to look like a normal home. It is also cheaper to build because the containers are being reused.

  • carsonb-2-bar
    5/19/2016 - 11:16 p.m.

    Shipping containers make good homes. According to the article, they are faster and cheaper to build. I also think it is a great way to recycle the containers. Many of these containers sit empty. The Port of Long Beach has thousands of containers stacked up that could easily be used for housing. In addition to this they could be used as temporary housing in cities where housing is limited. I liked the article and think using containers is a great idea for housing.

  • luket-4-bar
    5/20/2016 - 12:30 a.m.

    Shipping containers make good homes because they are "faster, cheaper and now potentially have much more of an aesthetic range,". They are an easy, cheap way to live that many people may find appealing.
    I thought this article was interesting because I didn't know people were living in shipping containers.

  • noahf-3-bar
    5/20/2016 - 05:45 a.m.

    Shipping containers make great homes because they are cheap, fast to build and have a ton of different designs on the inside. While some shipping container homes keep the original look from when they were used as shipping containers others have a completely different modern look instead. I find the idea of shipping containers as houses interesting, but strange. I think the idea of shipping containers as houses will never catch on and very few people will actually live in a shipping container.

  • laurap-ver
    5/20/2016 - 09:14 a.m.

    I supose shipping containers make good homes due to the fact of easy placement and I guess easy remodeling too. They're also easy to place in rural area's, and also make living easier in some ways.

  • theaw-4-bar
    5/23/2016 - 08:32 p.m.

    Shipping containers make good homes because they are easily made, and save lumber while being made. They " are faster, cheaper and now potentially have much more of an aesthetic range," says Dana Cuff, director of cityLAB, a think tank at UCLA. These homes are also environmentally friendly because they are being reused. I liked this article and would findit cool to live in one of the complex's.

  • dianner-2-bar
    5/26/2016 - 08:53 p.m.

    Shipping containers make good homes because '"They are faster, cheaper and now potentially have much more of an aesthetic range,". I like this article because it is incredible how people are comfortable and how they say that is is like a regular apartment. I also think this is really cool because they are a lot so if we don't want the containers people can live in it and it would be like a house or an apartment.

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