Rapid urbanization and population growth are taking over the world. It is not different for Indian cities. The pressure on natural resources to fulfil the modern generation’s needs is growing heavily. The land is one such resource. The construction industry is the culprit behind the contamination of agricultural lands and making them unfit for usage. It is the need of the hour to find solutions that are unconventional (in their resource usage) but also befitting to the modern lifestyle.
One of the solutions for this issue can be traced back to the building techniques and the material used by those. Time, money, space, and waste byproducts are the consequences of conventional techniques at the end of the project. So, what are the options? Many think tanks are trying to solve this pertinent question. Hence, the present study would focus on Container architecture as a solution in context with the Indian architectural scenario.

Many people assume that container construction will be the next big thing and that it will pave the foundations for future eco-friendly architecture. This article will discuss both the application and the technical aspects of the layout of container/train coaching. Living, commercial, retail, leisure, military, educational, and other typologies and requirements have all benefited from this specific area of architecture.

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The artistic process and the executive process of designing portable architecture are fundamentally collaborative. The architecture must cater to the structure’s internal preparation and shape design, ensuring comfort while maintaining a blend between aesthetics and ambience. It does, however, take into account the structure’s portability and other technicalities. Because of the need to adhere to the vessel’s capability and dimensions, these systems are often reduced in scale. 

A few other types of compact architecture make use of prefabricated, easy-to-assemble modular components. They are shipped as an individual, isolated pieces that are assembled in a short amount of time. Portable Architecture has investigated the use of collapsible components, reclaimed materials (for example, container boxes), and vehicle mechanisms to extend this style from compact structures to large spaces. 

Container Architecture has also played an important role in disaster-affected areas, providing temporary medical facilities and housing for those who have been displaced. The humanitarian architecture employs design and material efficiency to provide immediate relief and assistance to those who are struggling in these countries.

Let us discuss some pros and cons of container architecture.

1. Pro: Fast Building | Container Architecture

The construction of containers is much quicker than conventional ways of construction. In off-site production, smaller homes can be completely manufactured within 3 weeks. In just a few months larger homes will be finished. Many minor details and improvements can be made before the containers meet their final destination at the manufacturing site.

The DIYer is also much more friendly with shipping containers. However, before embarking on your container home it is intelligent to contact a construction company or an engineer.

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2. Pro: Cost-Effective 

Building containers for shipping will save you money relative to conventional methods of transport. One guy used two containers to make a rustic $35,000 grid-free cabin.

Containers will cost between $1,400 and $4,500, or even more depending on the condition of the container and its location. You can buy one for less, however, you want to ensure that you can create one for it.

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3. Con: Not so environmentally friendly 

The general idea is that you are doing the world a favour by using old renovated shipping containers. However, wear and loss usually occur in such containers and they are not suitable for new buildings.

You must maintain the structural stability of your home if you plan to use the refurbished construction. You have the freedom and the structural stability for doing any construction you may think of in new transport containers.

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4. Con: Noxious chemicals

Used containers for shipment can contain hazardous chemical substances or other products. During travel, they were often treated to deter corrosion. Notice that containers are made of stainless steel and spend much of their time on and around the sea. Metal and saltwater is a corrosion and rust formula.

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Check the rehabilitated container for confirmation that it has been handled enough to be suitable for use in the home building. Will also want to search for corrosion, as the structural integrity would be affected.

5. Pro: The Green Part | Container Architecture

The most important influence on the use of steel is whenever you plan to use a renovated container. The 40-foot container averages over 8,000 Pounds. You also reduce the use of more conventional construction materials, such as wood and steel.

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6. Pro: Mobility

Regardless of your reasoning, you may not want the home to remain forever in its original location. You don’t have the chance to move the house for conventional construction. Containers will transport the finished building as many times as possible to a different site.

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7. Pro: Creative Liberty

Shipping containers in a range of sizes allow you to build a home as big or as small as you choose. To build a greater area, you can combine several containers. To open up space and let in a lot of natural light, you should make big windows. Or you can set up big glass doors to open and take the outside.

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You can convey your style by using shipping containers. You are free to develop with the principles of conventional building and architecture. Try sticking with high-cube containers for maximum freedom, they are 9’6″ tall. This makes isolation possible and there is also space for a ceiling fan. You could use a normal height container if you are not concerned about it; it is 8’6′′ wide.

8. Con: Codes and permits

In several municipalities, container homes are still very recent. This has resulted in the absence of certain approvals and building codes. Make sure you can legally construct a container house. Do your homework. You need to ensure that all existing zoning and building codes comply within your house.

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The Building Code Enforcement Office is the perfect place to meet here in Houston. If you do not comply with zoning rules, you will have to take it home even if the building is finished.

9. Pro: Tugendity and endurance | Container Architecture

Containers are made for long-lasting purposes. Their initial aim is to live on an ocean tanker that is exposed to the elements for several months and thousands of miles. In terms of strength and longevity, they also well exceed the minimum requirements for new homes.

You must be mindful of how much steel you break off to maintain this power. You will need to add reinforcements if you intend to render important cutaways for walls, windows, and room openings. The load can be carried by additional steel beams.

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References  | Container Architecture

Scholarcommons.usf.edu. 2021. [online] Available at: <https://scholarcommons.usf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3094&context=etd> [Accessed 21 April 2021].

Scribd.com. 2021. [online] Available at: <https://www.scribd.com/doc/100148797/Shipping-Container-Architecture-Booklet-pdf> [Accessed 21 April 2021].

Scribd.com. 2021. [online] Available at: <https://www.scribd.com/doc/298233923/Build-a-Container-Home-Full-PDF-Book-by-Warren-Thatcher> [Accessed 21 April 2021].

coaches, H., wheels, S., move, A., resources, O., reuse, R. and basis’, ‘., 2021. Hyderabad’s homeless find a home in train coaches – Shelter home on wheels. [online] The Economic Times. Available at: <https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/transportation/railways/hyderabads-homeless-find-a-home-in-train-coaches/recycle-reuse/slideshow/61220365.cms> [Accessed 21 April 2021].

Gogoi, A., 2021. Pune Duo Turn Shipping Containers Into Offices, Homes That Can Move Around!. [online] The Better India. Available at: <https://www.thebetterindia.com/228883/pune-homes-cost-construction-architect-turns-shipping-container-offices-school-studio-alternative-ang136/> [Accessed 21 April 2021].

Studio, T., 2021. Three Reasons Why You Should Consider Converting A Shipping Container Into A Studio – IPME. [online] IPME. Available at: <https://goipme.com/three-reasons-why-you-should-consider-converting-a-shipping-container-into-a-studio/> [Accessed 21 April 2021].

Zberea Andrei, Z., 2021. [online] Diva-portal.org. Available at: <http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:938461/FULLTEXT01.pdf> [Accessed 21 April 2021].

ArchDaily. 2021. 10 Excellent Examples of Works That Adopt the Use of Containers. [online] Available at: <https://www.archdaily.com/882265/10-excellent-examples-of-works-that-adopt-the-use-of-containers> [Accessed 21 April 2021].

ArchDaily. 2021. Arkitema Architects Designs 30 Shipping Container Apartments in Roskilde, Denmark. [online] Available at: <https://www.archdaily.com/881874/shipping-container-architecture-continues-to-transform-cities> [Accessed 21 April 2021].

Pinterest. 2021. How To Build Your Shipping Container Home [Infographic] | Container house, Container house plans, Building a container home. [online] Available at: <https://www.pinterest.com/pin/229191068517271076/> [Accessed 21 April 2021].

Ravenscroft, T., 2021. Grimshaw designs range of shipping-container coronavirus testing centres. [online] Dezeen. Available at: <https://www.dezeen.com/2020/06/03/grimshaw-shipping-container-coronavirus-testing-centres/> [Accessed 21 April 2021].

E M S. 2021. The Pros and Cons of Building a Shipping Container House – E M S. [online] Available at: <https://equipmentmanagementservices.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-building-a-shipping-container-house/> [Accessed 2 May 2021].


Tushar is currently an architecture student in VIT. Whenever he finds time from browsing through memes, he's constantly lost in dreaming about new conspiracy theories. He is constantly trying to stay awake through online classes one class at a time.