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container_

architecture
Building Systems Integration Case Study
William J Penland
November, 2008 * image by photohome_uk, Flicr.com, april 2007
The objective of this document is to study the diferent ways in
which prefabricated elements of our global economic infrastruc-
ture (ISO shipping containers specifcally) can be used as archi-
tecture after they have fulflled their primary use in the shipping
industry, by providing places of habitation for multiple sectors of
the building industry.
* image by randomwire, Flickr.com, nov. 2006
table of
contents :
general...
shipping containers in america... 1
upcycling_W. McDonough...3
specifcations_loads...5
massing...
kalkin house_adam kalkin...7
dwell home_ jpa...9
sanlitun south_lo-tek...11
nomadic museum_shigeru ban...13
connecting...
lateral connection_types...15
outftting_fnishing...
cutting openings...17
making them habitable...19
ii
shipping
containers
in america :
* image by So Cal Metro, Flickr.com, jan. 2006
In America we import most of our goods from other countries, many times hundreds or
thousands of miles away. These goods are typically shipped to our country using ISO
shipping containers, however, once they arrive and are emptied, these containers are
typically not reflled with goods and exported out to people around the world. Sadly,
they usually end up in one of two places; being stacked in storage in large ports or train
yards, flling up valuable urban land, slowly succombing to rust and weather, or they go
the the scrap yard, where they enter an extreemly energy intensive process of melting
them down to be recycled into useable steel.
Why does this happen? because it is actually cheaper for exporting countries to make
new ones for the next shipment instead of investing capital in transporting them back
overseas to be reflled. This leaves america and other net importers with huge surplus-
es of shipping containers that we have no use for.
*http://bp0.blogger.com/_pMscxxELHEg/R_uhbdDCIvI/AAAAAAAABz0/SWx81Dszc3o/s1600-h/ContainersFeb2008.jpg
* image by OneEighteen, Flickr.com, aug. 2007
* image by rustyjaw, Flickr.com, no. 2007
* image by myfear, Flickr.com, oct. 2006
2
upcycling :
* http://images.ted.com/images/ted/91_254x191.jpg
William A. McDonough
upcycling: the term upcycling was coined by William McDonough and Michael
Braugart in their groundbreaking book on ecologically-intelligent design, Cradle to
Cradle, published in 2002. In the simplest terms, upcycling is the practice of taking
something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and
value.
* image by ubiquity_zh, Flickr.com, mar. 2007
* image by Val Ann, Flickr.com, aug. 07
* image by Vincent, Flickr.com, apr. 2008
* image by guitarchitect, Flickr.com, apr. 2008
this [architecture]
or
this [recycled]
or
this [wasted]
?
?
?
4
container specs_
measurements :
http://www.freightraders.co.nz/containerspecs.html
precise construction: standard ISO shipping containers are built to meet rigid
international standard dimensions. They come in an assortment of sizes and shapes
depending on the diferent types of freight needed to be shipped. The most popular,
and most readily acceptable 20 and 40 low and high-box [86 high and 96 high
respectively] are also the types typically used for container architecture
roof/uniform load
300 psf
[20 psf reqd by code]
foor/uniform load
101 psf
[40 psf reqd by code]
stacking/axial load
211,670 pound/post
[500 pound/post reqd]
racking/shear load
33,600 lb
[1,600 lb reqd by code]
end wall/lateral load
366 psf
[20 psf reqd by code]
racking/shear load
16,800 lb
[680 lb reqd by code]
sidewall/lateral load
234 psf
[20 psf reqd by code]
loads_forces:
6
point loads
adam kalkin_
Kalkin House :
* image from architecture & hygiene [Kalkin, 2002]
* image from architecture & hygiene
* image by chickpea studios, Flickr.com, aug.2008
description:
a 2-story, 20x80 pre-fab
shed houses 3 stacked ISO
shipping containers, creating
hybrid indoor/outdoor space
by opening up facades with
operable glass garage doors,
and balconies with metal
grids.
conclusions:
the skin within a skin motif used here makes sense from a ther-
mal comfort standpoint, especially with the addition of concrete
foors. The simple vertical stacking strategy used, takes most ad-
vatage of space and load distribution from each container down
to the foundation without the need for additional structure.
diagramatic model of
container massing
Kalkin [Collectors] House
Shelburne Museum,
Shelburne Vermont [2001]
- simple vertical container stacking
- container skin housed within
industrial pre-fab skin
[increased foor area,
frames living spaces,
decreases ISO thermal load]

- garage door facades open to exterior
[cross ventilation,
blending of exterior & interior]
* image from architecture & hygiene
8
jones partners
architecture_
Dwell Home :
* image from el segundo [J.P.A. 2007]
* image from el segundo [J.P.A. 2007]
* image from el segundo [J.P.A. 2007]
Dwell Home
Pittsboro, NC [2003]
- uses J.P.A.s PRO/con system
[20 containers used as basic building
block to create an almost limitless
variety of dwellings]
- massing of containers around central
interior volume
[containers contain bedrooms/bath
rooms and enclose living spaces in
the void]
- container becomes a habitable wall
description:
utilizes PRO/con system, built of 20 ISO contian-
ers and steel framed infll panels for roof and foor
on driven steel piles; aluminum sliding glass door
and solid interior partition system.
conclusions:
the systematic approach presented by Jones Part-
ners attempts to use the container as a building
block within a larger, more complicated system.
Seemingly endless possibilities of spatial and struc-
tural articulation are made possible with the use of
a logical organization pattern.
diagramatic model of
container massing
* image from el segundo [J.P.A. 2007]
10
lot-ek_
Sanlitun
South :
* image from lot-ek.com
* image from lot-ek.com
* image from lot-ek.com
Sanlitun South
Beijing, China [2005]
- contianers idependantly supported within
conventional structure
- containers become extrusions from fa
cade, providing for signage and retail level
pedestrian protection from precipitation
[seem to foat out in space, visually
interesting but structurally intensive]
description: organized like a medieval
village with a dense fabric of narrow open-
air alleys [circulation channels] between
low-rise buildings connected by elevated
walkways and bridges throughout. with
shipping containers inserted randomly into
facades, functioning as canopies for the
foors and entrances below.
conclusions: The insertion of shipping con-
tainers into larger structures allows them
to be utilized for functions other than just
program. They can have multiple pur-
poses and operate in various ways at the
same time. Incorporating them with other
architectural moves [solar shade screens]
allows for passive cooling, reducing energy
consumption.
diagramatic model of
container massing
12
shigeru ban_
Nomadic Museum :
* image by PaoloMazzo, Flickr.com, sept. 2006
* image by PaoloMazzo, Flickr.com, sept. 2006
* image by PaoloMazzo, Flickr.com, sept. 2006
* image by PaoloMazzo, Flickr.com
* image by PaoloMazzo, Flickr.com, sept. 2006
Nomadic Museum
worldwide [debuted N.Y.C. 2005]
- staggered vertical container massing
[maintains point loads]
- containers and canvas sheets provide a
semi-enclosed exhibition space
- designed for mobility
[primary structure is shipping con
tainers and recycled paper collumns]
description:
designed as a temmporary structure to
house the Ashes and Snow photography
and flm exhibition by Gregory Colbert
The museum is an on-going project that
changes and evolves as the years go by.
The design discussed here is the origional.
conclusions:
the clever staggering of the containers in the hori-
zontal while maintaining the integrity of the axial
point loads provides a unique opportunity to pay
equal attention to the mass and the void.
the use of used container adds an extra layer
of depth and meaning to the temporality of the
structure.
diagramatic model of
container massing
14
connecting
multiple
containers :
how are containers connected together
to allow for structural stability through-
out the entirety of the structure?
- connectors are used at adja
cent corner fttings to clamp adja
cent container together. these
are used at each connection to tie
together individual neighboring
units [in the vertical and/or the
horizontal] and provide stability to
the whole stack.
- various tyes of connectors may
be used depending on project
requirements.
see container connector clamps
http://www.tandemloc.com/ for
additional examples of container
connectors
* image by sixbysixtasy, Flickr.com, sept. 2008
basic screw-type container
connector clamp
16
perforating the
container_
cutting holes:
how are habitable spaces made within
the fairly constrained interior dimen-
sions of the shipping container?
- sometimes larger spaces are
required by program than can
be provded by one container.
when this happens, cut desired
opening into corrugated metal
facade and frame with structural
steel.
[framing required due to
loss of lateral stability in
facade due to cut opening]

- this same approach is taken for
cutting all types of openings
[doors, windows, & room
expansions]
- where framing is not applicable
[the removal of an entire facade],
tie structural member of neighbor
ing containers together, or [in the
case of replacing with a glass cur
tain wall] add tension bracing to
achieve lateral stability.
* image by j_mills, Flickr.com, mar. 2008
structural framing around
container openings
18
fnishing out the
container_
making it habitable:
* image by petraalsbach, Flickr.com, mar. 2007
how are habitable spaces made within
the fairly constrained interior dimen-
sions of the shipping container?
- sometimes larger spaces are
required by program than can
be provded by one container.
when this happens, cut desired
opening into corrugated metal
facade and frame with structural
steel.
[framing required due to
loss of lateral stability in
facade due to cut opening]

- this same approach is taken for
cutting all types of openings
[doors, windows, & room
expansions]
- where framing is not applicable
[the removal of an entire facade],
tie structural member of neighbor
ing containers together, or [in the
case of replacing with a glass cur
tain wall] add tension bracing to
achieve lateral stability.
*note: see compact disk [included] for
closer details of digital container models.
tie with
connectors
extruded foam
insulation
gypsum board
foated foor
[wood stud]
container structure
cap void between
containers
example container building
elevations [front, side]
example container building
sections [front, side]
tie with
connectors
extruded foam
insulation
gypsum board
foated foor
[wood stud]
20
container structure
cap void between
containers
example container building
digital model
bibliography :
architectureandhygiene.com
frmitas.org
fickr.com
Jones, Partners: Architecture, El
Segundo, Princeton Architectural
Press, NY, 2007
jonespartners.com
Kalkin, Adam Architecture & Hygiene,
BT Batsford, London, 2002
Keetwonen -
http://www.tempohousing.
com/projects/keetwonen.html
Lot-ek.com
shigerubanarchitects.com