Shipping Container House with Dynamic Facade, Chile

Floor plans
About James & Mau

Project: Casa Manifesto
Design: James & Mau, Infiniski
Area: 160 sqm
Year: 2009
Execution Time: 90 days
Total Cost: 79.000 €
Containers: 3
Location: Curacavi, Chile
Photography: Antonio Corcuera

Bioclimatic design, recycling, reuse, reduction of building materials; clean and renewable energy use. All these concepts converge in the Casa Manifesto - recycled shipping container house designed by James & Mau and built by Infiniski.

The structure consists of the three shipping containers, combined with other materials such as wood, recycled aluminum and others. The construction is based on a modular prefabricated design, which allows to limit transport costs and pollution on site. This system suggests the complete realization of the house design, integrating possible extensions - fast and consistent, in case the client's space needs will change over time.

In this case, the result is an inner area 160 m2 divided into two floors. The ground floor is occupied by a large common area, which includes living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and terraces. The master bedroom with bath, living room, two rooms with shared bathrooms and terraces form the area of the second floor.

Its location, on top of a hill dominating the landscape, generating a permeability in its east-west axis. Through a large glass area, the sensation of being in the most social area of the house is to be under a big bridge in the middle of nowhere.

The shipping container house is spread around this great common space with volumes much more closed in the north-south axis. At the same time intentionally, the construction system of the house is covered with skin, playing through its horizontal elements, generates a wealth of light and shade that helps to dematerialize the volumes. The house, with its materials, it becomes a living architectural object.

The shape of the shipping container house with dynamic facade itself responds to a bioclimatic design to suit the climat conditions of the place. So, the house "dresses" in summer and "undressing" winter sun through facades and roof skin. To achieve this architects used two types of skin: one based on fixed horizontal wood slats and other mobile pallet, which can be opened individually to control solar radiation. It also serves as ingenious aesthetic finish to help integrate it into its rural surroundings.

The inner enclosure is formed by recycled cellulose insulation projected onto the sheet inside the container and ecological finished panels of gypsum and cellulose fiber. With these elements of passive thermal insulation, and the incorporation of alternative energy technology (solar thermal panels) the recycled shipping container house achieves 70% energy independence.

Description by the project team.

On the top of a hill as if it were a castle or fortress, strategically located and dominating a wonderful landscape, this shipping container house generates a permeability in its east-west axis fading over the landscape through a large glazed space like who is under a large bridge in the middle of nowhere ... this effect being in the most social area of ​​the house gives a special magic and warmth to this place where watching the sunrise or sunset can be a playful experience.

The shipping container house is distributed around this large space with much more closed volumes in the north-south axis contrasting with the open side and thus generating a volumetric tension towards one of the views, at the same time they are the construction system of the house but that of in an intentional way they are dressed by a skin that, playing through its horizontal elements, generates a wealth of light and shadow that in turn dematerialize the volumes, thus completing, as a whole, a living architectural object and in a “stand by” position.

Concept: Design by James & Mau for Infiniski showing the greatest potential of the Infiniski concept: bioclimatic design, recycling, reuse and reduction of construction materials, non-polluting building materials and systems, use of renewable energy.

Shipping container house of 160 sqm interiors divided into two floors: a living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and terraces on the ground floor; Main room with its bathroom, living room, two rooms with shared bathroom and terraces on the second floor.

The construction system works based on a modular design, prefabricated in the workshop that allows to limit transportation and pollution costs on site. The modular system allows us to think about the complete realization of the shipping container house, integrating possible rapid and coherent extensions in case the client's space needs change over time.

The Structure consists of three reused shipping containers. A container divided into two separate parts serves as a structural support for the two containers on the first floor. This porch-shaped structure creates an “inter-container” space that gives an extra surface, so that with only three containers (90m2) 160m2 are achieved. Thus the use of material is greatly reduced. In turn, the porch moves slightly on one side to create outdoor spaces with a terrace.

Form follows Energy. The shape of the house responds to a bioclimatic design that adapts according to the incidence of the climatic elements of the place. Thus the shipping container house is formed by a bridge beam system (porch) on the first floor that creates a vain on the ground floor. This is glazed on opposite facades so that they receive sun throughout the day and allows maximum ventilation. The house (portico) is deformed in the north-south axis, seeking and protecting itself from solar radiation from the north (southern hemisphere).

The house with dynamic facade "dresses and undresses" in summer and winter by means of a solar skin transventilated both on facades and on roofs (air separation chamber between skin and container facade / cover). It dresses with the skin in summer to protect itself from the sun creating a passive natural cooling effect. It undresses in winter to allow the incidence of the sun either on the sheet of the container or on the windows and create a passive natural heating effect.

Two types of façade skin were used: one based on fixed horizontal wood slats and another of mobile pallets that can be opened individually to control solar radiation. The skin of the cover is a light mesh of quitaipón according to the season of the year. The skin also serves as an aesthetic finish that is integrated into its rural environment.

The pergolas, allow to control the entrance of the direct sun through the windows. In the winter they rise to the maximum to allow the most widespread sun to enter and generate a greenhouse inside. In summer they are lowered more or less depending on the time of day and the outside temperature for a natural ventilation effect.

The interior enclosure is made up of recycled cellulose insulation projected on the inside of the container sheet and finished with ecological panels of cellulose fiber and plaster.

With these passive thermal insulation elements, and the incorporation of alternative energy technology (solar thermal panels) the house achieves an energy autonomy of 70%.

Recycled, reused and non-polluting materials:

- 40 ft High Cube reused shipping container for structure and enclosures
- Reused pallets for outer skin
- Sustainable forest wood for outer skin slats
- Projected cellulose of recycled newspaper for insulation of walls
- Recycled cellulose fiber panels
- Recycled galvanized steel for interior wall structure
- Ecological natural cork for ecological thermal insulation under floors
- Original 30mm plywood of the polished and varnished container for interior floors
- Reused Laurel wood from demolition floors for kitchen furniture and cabinets
- Reused Oregon pinewood with demolition beams for stair steps
- Fallebas (vertical closing bars) of reused container doors such as stair railing
- Ecological paint
- “Eco-label” tiles for bathroom tiles

The house achieves 85% (measured by weight) of recycled, reused and / or non-polluting materials.

Casa Manifesto Shipping Containers Home Floor Plans

About James & Mau

Old contact info


AddressGlorieta de Bilbao 1, 2°C, 28004, Madrid, Spain
Phone+34 91 3295953


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Phone+56 2 27610061


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AddressC/ José Lázaro Galdiano 4, 2a Planta, Madrid, Spain
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Shipping Container House with Dynamic Facade, Chile