(Temporary) Housing in Shipping Containers

container9This option of using shipping containers for housing made me think of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where housing of athletes will be tight, and hotel rooms for visitors to the Olympics will be almost impossible to find or afford. Many folks are turning to renting private rooms and apartments for the Games.

Originally, the plan was to build a Y-shaped pier in Rio’s harbor, adding thousands of feet to the existing piers, where six cruise ships could dock for the duration of the Games, thus providing thousands of rooms in a space-challenged city that has an inadequate number of hotels to house the numbers expected for the Games. Long story short, the money for that project “disappeared” in the build-up to the World Cup, and now Rio has a shortage of rooms for the Olympics.

How great would it have been to use shipping containers as temporary housing for the Games, as is planned in Copenhagen for their student housing?

Copenhagen’s CPH Containers aims to create low-cost, container-based student homes for installation on underdeveloped land.

container1CPH will begin construction on a “student village” later this year.

container4This is not a new idea. Such villages have been built in South Africa, London, the US, and elsewhere, and have proven supremely useful, and surprisingly stylish.

The prototype container home, dubbed CPH Shelter, is made from a 40-ft (12-m) recycled shipping container, and features an additional two-floor polycarbonate structure.

container3The container home’s interior comprises a lounge/dining area, kitchen, bedroom with daybed, and a bathroom with shower and toilet.

container5These homes offer tempting benefits: container structures are easy to construct and are easy to dismantle and move, with no significant foundations required. There’s also the environmental benefit of building with recycled materials to consider. However, the positives must be weighed against a container’s lack of insulation and the difficulty of keeping it cool in summer and warm in winter.

To address this, CPH Containers has installed wood fiber and paper-wool insulation, in addition to an automated mechanical ventilation system in the bathroom and kitchen. The firm also says that its polycarbonate winter garden offers warmth on a sunny day (though an efficient heat pump is also installed).

container2Given the popularity of tiny houses these days, I suspect that land-strapped cities around the world might give these pre-fab homes another look. Certainly, they could be a useful idea for any city hosting the Olympics or other major event that draws millions to a city temporarily.

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