Cargo containers and modular housing

It has taken a long time, but cargo containers and modular housings seem to be joining forces.

Modular homes, manufactured homes, or “kit homes,” as they are sometimes called, have been around much longer than you might think. Surprisingly, the first documented modular home was built in Australia in 1853. The trend gradually caught on and reached England, and finally the US, to support the gold rush in 1908. Just so we all use the same terms Prefab, modular housing is defined, for the sake of this article, as any structure that has a portion of it built in an off-site factory and assembled on site.

Like modular homes, cargo containers have been transformed and folded to accommodate new technologies and market demands. In England, in the late 1700s, they began to transport coal in containers. The popularity of this method grew and, in the 1830s, they used a form of intermodal container to transport coal by car and then by train to the final destination. However, they were not containers as we know them today, and there was no global standard for size. It wasn’t until 1955 that a former trucking company owner named Malcolm McLean pioneered the development of the intermodal freight container we know and use today.

Now, almost 60 years later, we find that we have a lot of these cargo containers built and deployed, so much so that we are looking for other things that we can do with them. After scratching their heads, people realized that they could take the sturdy steel boxes and turn them into homes, very similar to the concept of modular housing. While many countries have been using shipping containers for everything from stores and storage units, the first large, planned and publicized development was in London in 2000, and was aptly named “Container City 1”. From there, the popularity grew and housing developments of up to 1000 containers, or perhaps we should say assembled, have been built.

We have a smaller and residential scale, many architects around the world are pushing unique and eco-friendly houses made from used cargo containers. Just as modular homes started out as a fast and affordable housing solution, and evolved into multi-million dollar homes on a large scale; Modular container housing has gone from being an affordable housing solution to an expensive green housing concept. Some of the higher-end container homes have water harvesting systems, heavy-duty security features, and all the amnesties of a conventional home.

What’s next for the industry? It’s very difficult to say. I’m sure Malcolm McLean 60 years ago never imagined anyone living in one of his steel containers.

Author: admin

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