Sheltainer - Modular Shipping Container Housing Project, Cairo, Egypt

Massing Build Up

Mouaz Abouzaid, Bassel Omara and Ahmed Hammad, architects based in the United Arab Emirates, designed a modular housing project made of shipping containers for Cairo, Egypt. Nicknamed "Sheltainer", the project aims to help meet the demand for low-income housing for students and refugees. The proposal structures the daily life of its residents around single family units capable of meeting all the needs of a small family.

Sheltainer seeks to serve refugees, exiles, students, and low-income families through standard 6-meter containers, associated with smaller, 3-meter, and larger, 12-meter units employed in the structures. Individual residential units are combined into a cluster, forming a small set of 8 houses around a courtyard. The units can be adapted to different environments. The team initially highlighted two countries that could receive the project: Syria, where more than half of the population was displaced, and South Sudan, where the refugee population increased from 854,100 to over 1.4 million during the second half. 2016. The team rethought the project for Egypt, looking for a way to help solve that country's housing problem.

“Home is not a place, it is a feeling. People are connected to their homeland. Growing up in an environment with family and friends fuels people's souls with a promising future. But being forced to leave home due to hunger, the economy or even politics creates insecurity. Twenty people are displaced by the minute, and providing a stable community that can handle these problems and rapid change becomes an imminent challenge", the architects say.

Shipping Container Low-Cost Single-Family Home, Peru

Floor plans
About TRS Studio

Design TRS Studio
Containers 2
Location Pachacutec, Ventanilla, Región Callao, Perú
Photos Niall Patrick Walsh

TRS Studio developed a project for low-cost housing in Peru's Callao region. The shipping container single-family home is based on a 40 ft containers and is constructed of sturdy materials that involve low cost and low environmental impact. The project depends on community participation and aims to improve the quality of health and housing in the Pesquero II settlement through sustainable materials and techniques.

The project began with a study of the types of houses in the area, concluding that the basic structure should not be too invasive and that the materials should be easy to maintain and inexpensive. The result was the adaptation of a series of ISO 40 ft containers with a total area of ​​60 square meters using locally recycled wood.

The shipping container home is designed as two volumes, one above the other. The upper volume contains a social area and kitchen, while the other houses the private space. Interiors have natural light through openings in the ceiling.

The project was designed for a family of four and can be transformed into new spaces according to the family's needs.

The choice of materials was based on the specifics to the project. OSB recycled wood boards are made from wood shavings, an environmentally friendly, economical, versatile and durable material. This type of panel is resistant to deformation and offers excellent acoustic and thermal insulation. Recycled polycarbonate plates have also been incorporated into the design, and have a 20 year life span. The material has a high resistance to various weather conditions and temperature variations, while its transparency makes it applicable to facades, skylights and roofs.

Beautiful 3000 sqft 5 Bedroom Shipping Containers Home, Denver, Colorado

We really wanted to build something unique and creative but more importantly, we wanted to build a space that was designed to host gatherings as community and connection with friends and family is very important to us - Regan and Libby Foster, owners and general contractors.

Construction Process
Contact Info
About BlueSky Studio

Architecture Joe Simmons, BlueSky Studio
Owners and general contractorsRegan and Libby Foster
Bedrooms 5
Bathrooms 3.5
Area 3000 sq ft
Containers 9
Location Denver, Colorado

Making a house out of shipping containers sounds easy enough: Just snap up a few neglected boxes from a local junk dealer, rack ’em and stack ’em, and create a bit of old-school prefab magic.

But recycling the detritus of global shipping has its complications. Like how to turn corrugated steel boxes that measure an awkward eight feet wide and 40 feet long into something cozy enough to call home. Or how to keep their metal floors from vibrating when you walk on them, or prevent the chemicals they are treated with from being released into the air. Or, perhaps most important, how to assemble it all so it doesn’t look like you live in the storage yard of the local port authority.

Luckily, Regan Foster likes a challenge. He’s an extreme DIYer and, until recently, a firefighter, the kind of guy who is used to working 24-hour shifts and given to starting his day with a plunge into an outdoor ice bath. The house he designed and built with his wife, Libby, located just outside the Denver city line in Adams County, harnesses nine shipping containers into a 3,000-square-foot structure that’s meant to be shared with friends and neighbors. "We believe community and family are a strong part of living a life well-spent," Regan says.

In all, the house has five bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms, and an in-law suite with a separate entrance where Libby’s mother lives. Four of the containers are placed on the ground—side-by-side in pairs set 24 feet apart—to form the first floor. Another four are stacked above them, some shifted forward, to create a cantilevered second story. The ninth container sits perpendicular at the back of the second level to form a U-shape. The house is enclosed in front with a conventionally framed wall and on top with a flat roof supported by exposed joists.

In the voluminous great room, the ceiling rises to 25 feet. The space feels even larger thanks to a sliding glass wall that connects it to the back patio, which Regan outfitted with a grill, a prep countertop, and benches he built using chunks of concrete slab saved from the demolition of a small house that formerly stood on the lot.

Regan acted as general contractor and consulted with architect Joe Simmons of BlueSky Studio on the design. "When we first met, he gave me a diagram," says Simmons. "He pretty much had it all figured out." In fact, after the project ended and Regan earned his GC license, he retired from the fire department to pursue opportunities in real estate and construction. (The family also rents the house on Airbnb from time to time.)

Together, the pair solved structural questions. Although shipping containers stack easily and some can handle loads of more than of 50,000 pounds, Regan and Simmons had to reinforce theirs in places where they cut out windows and doors. They also reduced vibrations along the length of the containers by welding additional steel plates to the C-channel base structure to make them more rigid.

Regan, whose resumé includes furniture maker, did much of the interior himself. He laid the floors in hallways using various materials, including recycled barn wood and boards he fashioned from a catalpa tree a friend cut down. He turned a walnut slab into a sliding door and built a set of stairs from parallel strand lumber that leads to a cantilevered walkway that runs the length of the second floor.

To avoid any eventual off-gassing from the treated wood floors that came with the containers, Regan replaced them with stained, sealed plywood finish flooring and installed a heating system beneath.

But he was careful not to ruin the industrial charm of the containers. The inside faces of the exterior walls are layered with insulation and drywall, but many of the interior walls and ceilings remain exposed, with the painted, corrugated metal showing the inevitable minor dents accrued during the boxes’ previous lives.

The house and yard are regularly the site of social gatherings, and the Fosters recently hosted an event for CrossPurpose, a nonprofit that supports career training for those in need.

"Every day a voice in my head says, ‘You have one life to live, how are you going to live it?’" Regan explains. "So this house is just another stepping stone in a life full of curiosity and adventure."

Description from Airbnb

Our custom shipping container home is 3000 sqft. It's full of light & it has a large, custom kitchen. It has a unique atmosphere, comfort & privacy while sleeping many people. It has 25 ft ceilings in the great room, it feels grand and cozy! The location really is centrally located, there's so many things to do! We are near many shops, restaurants & parks, downtown and the mountains! We're a quick drive to the airport!

Good for couples, business travelers, families (with kids), & big groups.

The space

Our space is 3000 sqft of custom built goodness!! We have 3 bedrooms upstairs and 2 bedrooms downstairs. There are 2 full bathrooms upstairs and 1.5 baths downstairs. Our kitchen is amazing and so fun to cook in! There are 2 living areas, one with access to the screen projector and Netflix! There is a large front porch and back patio! There is also a private balcony off of the master bedroom!
There is a separate, ATTACHED apartment, that is OCCUPIED (which is why we do not allow parties!). We also require quiet hours from 10p-7a. This does not mean silent hours, just quiet. And we are strict on this.

Guest access

There is a separate, ATTACHED apartment, that is OCCUPIED (which is why we do not allow parties!). It has a separate entrance and access from within the main house. The door does remain locked, if this space is unrented. The garage off of the house is also prohibited. Otherwise, the house is yours! You'll enjoy the space!

Other things to note

While we have a great screen projector that can be used to watch DVD's and Netflix, we do not have a TV or cable. We have an Apple TV too.