1x20 ft and 2x40 ft Shipping Container Home, Houston, Texas

About Numen Development
About Christopher Robertson

ProjectCordell House
DesignChristopher Robertson, Numen Development
Containers1x20 ft, 2x40 ft plus 1x40 ft guest unit
Area1,858 sq ft
LocationHouston, Texas
PhotographyJack Thompson

Despite unconventional building elements of this shipping container home, the architects created a traditional rectangular home plan. Outside, the three units, one 20-foot container and two 40-foot containers form the three facades, with a glass wall to the fourth completing the perimeter of the home. The master suite is placed in the 40-foot unit; the second bedroom and an opening for the playroom and office, also take up the 40-foot module; and the laundry and kitchen rooms house the 20-foot container. Outside 400 sq ft deck connects the house to a 40 foot container that inhabits the storage shed and guest quarters.

Description by architect

This shipping container home in Houston, Texas, was designed for a speculative builder, however, it sold prior to completion and thus reflects the personality of its owners. When investigating the use of containers, we quickly concluded that thinking of them as 8′ thick walls rather than as rooms made the most sense. We were able to program the “walls” with functions that fit in that tight dimension like bathrooms, a kitchen, and closets. The primary space of the house however is created in the center of a U-shaped arrangement of three containers. A fourth container houses a small guest suite and acts as a site wall that encloses a small court yard.

Description by Inhabitat

Shipping container homes just keep on getting cooler. Developers Katie Nichols and John Walkeralong with architect Christopher Robertson wanted to create affordable and sustainable homes for the emerging hipster crowd – modern, colorful and creative. This single-story home, located on the outskirts of downtown Houston in a “transitional neighborhood,” is made from 4 shipping containers sourced from nearby ports. The house is constructed using some fairly advanced building techniques that make it an extremely sturdy and well insulated structure, not to mention incredibly cool.

If you’ve taken to shipping container architecture, you probably already noticed the interesting design of the home, use of space, and range of ceiling heights. Building with shipping container is a bit like playing with legos – you’ve got certain constraints, but they can be arranged in any number of ways. There are 4 containers, three of which are 40-foot high cubes (9’6″ tall) and a fourth is a 20-foot standard (8’6″). Two of the 40-foot containers make up the living, dining, and bedrooms, while the 20-foot container is slightly elevated and serves as a galley kitchen. Many of the interior walls were taken out or re-purposed to yield a surprisingly open and airy feeling home. The last 40-foot container is set across an open breezeway and serves as the guest cottage, totaling for a modest 3-bedroom home of 1,858 square feet.

The use of shipping containers means that the structure of the home is essentially prefabricated when it arrives on site. Each of the containers cost $2,000 to $5,500. The containers were placed on the site within one day, and within one month the home was enclosed and ready for interior work. Supported on 34 small piers elevated off the ground, the containers are less susceptible to settling and seasonal movement.

Insulation and structure for both the roof and flooring comes from SIPs (structural insulated panels). Meanwhile the exterior and undersides of all the containers is coated in a thin ceramic coating called Supertherm – which is amazingly non-toxic, has received Cradle to Cradle certification and has the equivalent of 6 inches of fiberglass insulation! Oh and NASA uses it on their shuttle boosters.

Besides the amazing insulative properties of the home, there is natural daylight streaming in from clerestory windows and a large glass facade on the east of the house. Interior materials were recycled and/or non-toxic, paints and finishes are low-VOC, efficient HVAC systems, super tight construction with energy recovery ventilation, porous paving and much more. Additionally, during construction, waste was kept to a minimum and recycled whenever possible, so at the end construction, there were only 12 contractor bags of trash.

Overall, an incredibly impressive house – modest size, sustainable construction, use of recycled and environmentally friendly materials, energy-efficient and sensitive of waste. Well done, Numen Development, we look forward to more of your cleverly designed shipping container homes!

About Numen Development

nu·men /nū'mən/1. A presiding divinity or spirit of a place.2. Creative energy; genius.

Numen Development, LLC is a consulting firm focused on small space and container-based designs. Customers can retain Numen Development to create new concepts, confirm feasibility of existing designs, or for on-site construction consultation.

Address204 Cordell St, Houston, TX 77009, USA

About Christopher Robertson

Christopher Robertson, a registered Architect, grew up in Houston and earned his Master of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin. In 1998, he completed a residency in Genova, Italy, with Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano. Upon graduation, Robertson formed KRDB (Krager Robertson Design-Build) in Austin, Texas, where he received the AIA Austin Firm Achievement Award as well as two Citations of Honor. In addition to his duties at Robertson Design, he is a professor of Architecture at the University of Houston.

Address136 E 23rd St, Houston, TX 77008, United States

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1x20 ft and 2x40 ft Shipping Container Home, Houston, Texas