Boathouse Made From Shipping Containers



Boat builder Steve White from Belfast, Irland has recently constructed a houseboat made from shipping containers. He intends to live in it and has parked it in the Brooklin marina. White was helped in bringing his project into existence by SnapSpace Solutions, which is a Brewer company specializing in repurposing containers for living and office space, as well as Ellsworth container homeowners Jennifer Sansosti and Trevor Seip, and boat builder Andrew Baldwin.


The houseboat is constructed from two recycled shipping containers, which are offset and joined together by a wall that extends up to a second floor loft. The entire house is set on a 30’x50’ barge and creates a cozy, spacious home. The entire houseboat measures 24’x40’ and has around 1,000 square feet of living space, which includes two bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen.



The outside of the containers was painted red, while large windows were cut into the sides to let in the maximum amount of natural light. The interior is fitted just like a real house, and includes radiant heat floors, a fully equipped kitchen and bamboo flooring. The house is heated by a propane gas furnace.

White opted for shipping containers as the main building units of his new houseboat because they are affordable, structurally sound, green and only require a minimal investment to make them habitable. They are also designed and built to last in marine environments.

The builders were, however, faced with the challenge of how to make the large steel structure float. In the end they designed a barge, which is basically just a box. The flotation is made possible by plastic pontoon cylinders filled with foam. These are impervious to salt water and very sturdy when placed in the water. Though out of water, the cylinders can’t support the weight of the home.

Another challenge faced by the builders was the thick steel hull of the containers. They had difficulty cutting it, since it was hard to cut and prone to flexing and bending. In the end they used a steel frame to firm it up and make it more rigid.

White and his wife plan to stay in the house for part of the year, and rent in out during the summer months. He also has plans for the construction of more such houseboats made from shipping containers.

Historic Train Station in Paris To Become World´s Largest Start-Up Incubator

Historic Train Station in Paris To Become World´s Largest Start-Up Incubator


(Courtesy Wilmotte et Associés)


Paris has its answer to Silicon Valley, with plans to convert an historic train station into the world’s largest home for digital entrepreneurship. Architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte has been entrusted to rehabilitate the landmark building, situated on the southern bank of the river Seine, into a technological hub to accommodate 1,000 start-up companies by the year 2016.




(Courtesy Wilmotte et Associés)


The new Halle Freyssinet building will be structured around modular container-based architecture, a nod to the cargo train heritage of the building, and will provide a range of business functions including meeting rooms, spacious co-working areas, a large auditorium, a fab-lab (workshop to create digital prototypes) and a 24-hour restaurant and bar. The ambitious venture is made possible through the Municipality of Paris with joint financing by Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations and French entrepreneur, Xavier Nile.


(Courtesy Wilmotte et Associés)


If all goes to plan, the new digital incubator will strengthen France’s presence and competitiveness in the tech enterprise market by cultivating an open space for entrepreneurs to grow and share ideas.


“Paris is a magical city, a city that attracts people from around the world and where a real energy around digital is developing. But young companies that want to settle there are faced with a lack of affordable, practical and high-speed equipped places.”  Xavier Niel told the newspaper Journal du Dimanche.


(Courtesy Wilmotte et Associés)


(Courtesy Wilmotte et Associés)


(Courtesy Wilmotte et Associés)

(Courtesy Wilmotte et Associés)

Shipping Container Cabin in the Woods

Shipping Container Cabin in the Woods

By Christine Walsh 


When Kam Kasravi and Connie Dewitt were faced with the decision on how to build a cabin on their woodland property in the Santa Cruz mountains they first considered buying a prefab house. But after realizing that there simply wasn’t enough room to bring in a prefab house down the narrow forest path that leads to their property, they started considering building the cabin out of recycled shipping containers. They enlisted the help of architect David Fenster of Modulus Architects, who designed for them the modern yet spacious shipping container cabin.


The owners wanted a modern cabin, but one that would not interfere too much with the surrounding forest. Today, their 2-story cabin has a footprint of 1,200 square feet, with 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms and an outdoor shower. In total, it cost roughly $600,000 to build, since in addition to purchasing all the materials, the couple also hired several geological consultants, soil analysts and structural engineers due to the fact that the house stands in the middle of a forest and in an earthquake prone area. This is still a savings of about $50 per square foot over a more conventional prefab house alternative. The cabin is built on a raised concrete base and they had to cut down two redwood trees in order to build it. The owners repurposed the wood to build the cabin’s staircase.

In designing the house, light and the feeling of being in an open space was paramount. The cabin has 9 skylights, 23 windows, and five glass doors, which greatly reduced the cramped feeling of living in a container. They bought the containers from the Port of Oakland, and opted for dry-freight containers called Hi Cubes. These containers have a height of 9 feet and 6 inches, which made it possible for the cabin to have high ceilings and therefore appear more spacious.

They also left most of the spaces inside the cabin open to further add to the feeling of spaciousness. The upstairs bedrooms are only separated by curtains and screen doors to save space, while still providing some privacy to the occupants.

The cabin was assembled onsite in just 6 hours, though the interior took almost a year to finish. While they initially worried about the industrial look of a home made from shipping containers, they, in the end, decided to leave many of the original features of the containers in place. According to the owners, this creates a nice blend of modern and rural and they went so far as to leave the upstairs flooring in its original state.







An added bonus of building a cabin from shipping containers in the region is the fact that they are earthquake proof. The area of the Santa Cruz mountains were the cabin stands is earthquake prone, but this presents little problem for the shipping containers which are built to withstand the harsh conditions of ocean travel. Since the cabin is made mostly of metal it should also prove fire proof in case of a forest fire in the region.