Container House

Container House is a new, shipping container based, residential project located near the west side Beltline in Atlanta’s Oakland City neighborhood. A client interested in shipping container housing allowed for the exploration of the shipping container as a building module as well as a spatial design tool. Careful stacking creates a two-story home with a collection of single and double height spaces to occupy, with private spaces housed within the containers and shared public spaces existing in the more open double height spaces.

Design Challenge

Precedent analysis of normative shipping container design and construction methodologies tend to focus on the container as both the structural building module as well as the main spatial element of the design. This lends itself to smaller spaces that may work for some programmatic functions, but not all. The design approach for Container House was to use shipping containers to support larger open programmatic uses by defining larger spatial volumes for habitation. The house creates a sense of lightness and openness not normally seen in container construction. A large main roof structure covers containers as well as the open space below by spanning from the supporting stacked containers to a main concrete block bearing wall, forming the space of the main living and dining areas. The design also focused on providing clean, modern exterior and interior design with material palettes that neutralize the industrial nature of the containers, without completely removing the shipping container aesthetic.

Physical Context

Located in a long-established neighborhood on Atlanta’s west side, Container House respects the existing neighborhood fabric by matching the surrounding home locations and setbacks, as well as the basic massing, volume and heights found in the neighborhood. The house establishes a front entry condition reminiscent of mid 50’s modern homes of the west coast. A carport leads to a covered entry condition framed by containers at the second level above. A load bearing concrete block wall creates the entry space and transitions the arrival from the carport to the entry courtyard, located on the front corner of the home, in the end of the first container. The rear yard condition is framed from within the two-story interior space via steel framed glazing and pivoting doors leading to the yard beyond. Existing hardwood trees occupy the rear landscape with the house taking advantage of views and shade found beyond. All three upper level bedrooms utilize the shipping container natural construction to create balcony conditions that expand the interior space into the landscape beyond. Container doors are welded in the open position and steel floor structure welded between these doors to create a light balcony structure floating above the ground below. Sections of box rib panel removed from the containers during fabrication are used to for the fencing and walls surrounding the home.