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Re-purposing shipping containers in Portland, OR

December 10, 2009

Steel cargo containers, used to ship goods around the world have fairly short lifespans. After retirement, they stack up in ports, most waiting to be melted down and turned into beams or other structural pieces. However, the process of manufacturing these containers and then melting them down again is highly energy intensive. Instead, many architects and individuals around the country have realized the potential for steel containers to be turned into shelter – whether a home, an outbuilding, an artist’s studio, a pool. . . a number of possibilities.

Mike Corvi is of this mindset. He recently bought a 8 x 20 foot container for $2,900 from a local Portland, OR business and set to work. With the help of his brother-in-law, a carpenter, and a few builders, Mike Corvi created a small porch with a corrugated metal roof, cut windows and doors into the steel and fitted them with a sliding glass door and dual-pane window, built an interior wood frame with attached R-20 insulation which was then covered by birch paneling and used salvaged hemlock for the windows’ trim. The result? A cozy space, outfitted with electricity, cable and heat.

The container retains its large steel doors which keep the structure warm in the winter, and can be opened for a breezy, cool, summer hideout. Corvi is currently working on a prototype with a kitchen and bathroom that he could turn into a business.

The best thing about these containers is that they can be stacked, put end to end, or manipulated in any number of ways to fit an individual’s wants and needs for a living space. I love this simple design, looks like a quiet, fun escape!

Check out Mike Corvi’s design via The Oregonian below:

photos by Kraig Scattarella for The Oregonian

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