Caterpillar House by Sebastián Irarrázaval


Construction of the 350-square-metre container house took just 8 months compared to a year or more, pointing out one of the many benefits of prefabricated construction. It also cost a 1/3 less. The site was first cleared of loose clay and rocks, and concrete retaining walls were erected to enclose the living areas on the ground level. Outdoor stairs at one end lead up to a side deck, with an open container serving as a cantilevered lap pool. To support the upper level, a massive steel cross­beam and posts anchor the containers that line up in four side-by-side volumes, each with its own viewfinder window at either end. The containers were trucked to the site and then cut and welded before being craned into place. Polyurethane was sprayed on, and the entire structure was clad in steel plates.

Architect: Sebastián Irarrázaval
Area: 350 sq m
Containers: 12 shipping containers: six 20-foot (6-m) units, five 40-foot (12-m) units and open-top shipping container for swimming pool.
Location: Santiago, Chile
Year: 2012
Photography: Sergio Pirrone