McConkey Shipping Container Home, San Diego, California

About OBR Architecture

Project: McConkey Residence
Designer: OBR Architecture
Builder: Mike McConkey, owner
Area: 800 square feet
Containers: 3
Location: Lakeside, San Diego County, California, USA
Photographer: Kevin Walsh

For many people, a huge mega-mansion represents the beautiful ideal dream home, but for Shawn and Mike McConkey, a shipping container home was their ideal. The shipping container McConkey Residence in San Diego, California, designed by OBR Architecture, is one of the first San Diego’s shipping container homes. 800 square feet of living space was formed by three shipping containers. Floor-to-ceiling huge windows make the open-air space feel even larger. Another thoughtful element is a retractable garage standard door next to the kitchen (and this design can be perfect for those times when the kitchen stove gets a bit too smoky). The roof and windows design incorporate flame-retardant level materials in the event of nearest wildfires.

Building a shipping container home was a dream come true for owners of this shipping container home - Mike and Shawn McConkey. Mike, a construction superintendent and architectural engineer was able to do a good portion of this custom home, along with an architect and general contractor. Having built a farm building stand out of a shipping container earlier in his professional career, Mike knew some of the possible challenges with this type of prefab modular structure.

Mike found that what appears to be standard indestructible shipping containers, lose much of their constructional rigidity when the shipping container sides are modified or changed, such as cutting openings in the metal for doors and windows. Mike learned how to deal with design issues by devising necessary structural reinforcements for containers relating to these windows/doors modifications and other changes in the structure, while maintaining the desired appearence of the shipping containers. Another related challenge was getting necessary construction approvals because of the first shipping container home in the county and the county building department had never seen this type of container construction before this project, ultimately taking about half a year. Joining usual residential conventional construction materials to the shipping containers was also more difficult; attaching conventional construction materials to steel rather than wood. Christopher Bittner, the architect on the shipping container home project,  recommends “Anyone wanting to pursue this type of construction should thoroughly interview builders to be sure they are up to the task.” When the shipping container home was complete, Mike and Shawn had an environmentally friendly and beautiful house that is very cozy and comfortable.


About OBR Architecture

Address3817 Ray St, San Diego, CA 92104, United States
Phone+1 619-564-7586

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McConkey Shipping Container Home, San Diego, California