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container_

architecture

Building Systems Integration Case Study


William J Penland
* image by photohome_uk, Flicr.com, april 2007 November, 2008
The objective of this document is to study the different ways in
which prefabricated elements of our global economic infrastruc-
ture (ISO shipping containers specifically) can be used as archi-
tecture after they have fulfilled 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


ii
table of
contents :

general...
shipping containers in america... 1
upcycling_W. McDonough...3
specifications_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

outfitting_finishing...
cutting openings...17
making them habitable...19
shipping
containers
in america :

*http://bp0.blogger.com/_pMscxxELHEg/R_uhbdDCIvI/AAAAAAAABz0/SWx81Dszc3o/s1600-h/ContainersFeb2008.jpg

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 refilled 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, filling 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 refilled. This leaves america and other net importers with huge surplus-
es of shipping containers that we have no use for.

* image by So Cal Metro, Flickr.com, jan. 2006


2

* image by OneEighteen, Flickr.com, aug. 2007

* image by myfear, Flickr.com, oct. 2006

* image by rustyjaw, Flickr.com, no. 2007


upcycling :

William A. McDonough
* http://images.ted.com/images/ted/91_254x191.jpg

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
4

this [architecture]

or

this [recycled]
or

this [wasted]

* image by guitarchitect, Flickr.com, apr. 2008

?
? ? * image by Vincent, Flickr.com, apr. 2008

* image by Val Ann, Flickr.com, aug. 07


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 different 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
6
loads_forces:
point loads

roof/uniform load
300 psf
[20 psf reqd by code]
stacking/axial load
211,670 pound/post
[500 pound/post reqd]

end wall/lateral load


366 psf
[20 psf reqd by code]

floor/uniform load
101 psf
[40 psf reqd by code]

racking/shear load
16,800 lb
[680 lb reqd by code]

sidewall/lateral load
234 psf
racking/shear load [20 psf reqd by code]
33,600 lb
[1,600 lb reqd by code]
adam kalkin_
Kalkin House :

* image from architecture & hygiene [Kalkin, 2002] * image from architecture & hygiene

* image by chickpea studios, Flickr.com, aug.2008


8

Kalkin [Collectors] House


Shelburne Museum,
Shelburne Vermont [2001]

- simple vertical container stacking

- container skin housed within


industrial pre-fab skin
[increased floor area,
frames living spaces,
decreases ISO thermal load]

- garage door facades open to exterior
[cross ventilation,
blending of exterior & interior]

diagramatic model of
container massing

description: conclusions:
a 2-story, 20x80 pre-fab the skin within a skin motif used here makes sense from a ther-
shed houses 3 stacked ISO mal comfort standpoint, especially with the addition of concrete
shipping containers, creating floors. The simple vertical stacking strategy used, takes most ad-
hybrid indoor/outdoor space vatage of space and load distribution from each container down
by opening up facades with to the foundation without the need for additional structure.
operable glass garage doors,
and balconies with metal
grids.
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]


10

Dwell Home
Pittsboro, NC [2003]
description:
- uses J.P.A.s PRO/con system utilizes PRO/con system, built of 20 ISO contian-
[20 containers used as basic building ers and steel framed infill panels for roof and floor
block to create an almost limitless on driven steel piles; aluminum sliding glass door
variety of dwellings] and solid interior partition system.

- massing of containers around central conclusions:


interior volume the systematic approach presented by Jones Part-
[containers contain bedrooms/bath ners attempts to use the container as a building
rooms and enclose living spaces in block within a larger, more complicated system.
the void] Seemingly endless possibilities of spatial and struc-
tural articulation are made possible with the use of
- container becomes a habitable wall a logical organization pattern.

diagramatic model of
container massing
lot-ek_
Sanlitun
South :

* image from lot-ek.com

* image from lot-ek.com

* image from lot-ek.com


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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 float 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
floors and entrances below.

conclusions: The insertion of shipping con-


tainers into larger structures allows them
to be utilized for functions other than just
diagramatic model of program. They can have multiple pur-
container massing 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.
shigeru ban_
Nomadic Museum :

* image by PaoloMazzo, Flickr.com, sept. 2006

* image by PaoloMazzo, Flickr.com * image by PaoloMazzo, Flickr.com, sept. 2006

* image by PaoloMazzo, Flickr.com, sept. 2006


14
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]

diagramatic model of
container massing

conclusions:
description: the clever staggering of the containers in the hori-
designed as a temmporary structure to zontal while maintaining the integrity of the axial
house the Ashes and Snow photography point loads provides a unique opportunity to pay
and film exhibition by Gregory Colbert equal attention to the mass and the void.
The museum is an on-going project that the use of used container adds an extra layer
changes and evolves as the years go by. of depth and meaning to the temporality of the
The design discussed here is the origional. structure.
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 fittings 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


16

basic screw-type container


connector clamp
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


18

structural framing around


container openings
finishing out the
container_
making it habitable:
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]
container structure
- this same approach is taken for
cutting all types of openings
[doors, windows, & room
expansions]
extruded foam
insulation
- where framing is not applicable
[the removal of an entire facade], gypsum board
tie structural member of neighbor
ing containers together, or [in the
case of replacing with a glass cur
tie with
tain wall] add tension bracing to connectors
achieve lateral stability. cap void between
containers

*note: see compact disk [included] for


closer details of digital container models.

floated floor
[wood stud]

* image by petraalsbach, Flickr.com, mar. 2007


20

example container building


elevations [front, side]

example container building


sections [front, side]

example container building


digital model
bibliography :

architectureandhygiene.com

firmitas.org

flickr.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