Shipping container home by Blackbox Container Store
Photograph by Spacecrafting
What would you do with 160 square feet? How about 320? Architect and artist Shane Schaaf of Blackbox Container Studios will be offering up two exciting possibilities at the Minneapolis Home + Remodeling Show’s Cargotecture exhibition.
An offshoot of the tiny house movement, container homes are living spaces made from corten steel shipping containers, originally designed to carry thousands of pounds of goods across the ocean. They also are virtually impenetrable to salt, offering sturdy protection from the elements.
“They are stackable. They are super innovative. You can put them side by side or on top of each other. And they come ready to ship, which is the heart of any kind of modular structure,” Schaaf says.
Most alluring to many is the practical option container homes present for living anywhere, on or off the grid, at about two-thirds the cost of a traditional home per square foot. Solar, propane, and compost setups provide off-grid power and plumbing. When you’re feeling wanderlust, your home can travel with you.
For all their simplicity and durability, Schaaf is quick to add that container home designs don’t have to feel industrial. “Our objective is to celebrate the fact that you can use the shipping container, but we also want to let people know that it does not have to look like a shipping container. I am taking an architectural approach. I want to bring the comfortable elements of a standard home or cabin into the space.”
Two of Schaaf’s designs, a Northern Retreat made of a single container, and a Traditional Bungalow made of two containers, will be on hand at the show. But he says the possibilities for both purpose and design are endless. Off the top of his head: a backyard guesthouse, pool house, greenhouse, yoga studio, or even a front porch or galley kitchen addition.
“I can envision someone with this quaint house in Minneapolis, but there is only so much room for an expansion,” he says. “How cool would it be if you could have your new dream kitchen delivered tomorrow? We could just knock out a door and connect it to your house. The options only stop when you stop your imagination.”