Detroit shipping container homes built in just 6 hours

It seems as though developers around the world are trying to outpace each other when it comes to building new apartment blocks in record times. However, an apartment in Detroit, USA consisting of three bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms across three floors has taken just six hours to build.

Comprising 2,800 square feet, this North Cooktown building is actually made entirely of shipping containers, which happens to be a first for the city. It is part of an innovative project to transform old shipping containers into brand new housing, which has already been occurring around the world including across Europe and Australia, but is a much rarer site in the United States due to the unconventional nature of the project.

Altogether, this model home took six hours and 15 minutes to put together where each of the nine containers were snapped into place with the help from a crane to lift them into position.

Three Squared Construction, the property development company in charge of this project hopes from this model home, they will be able to show that shipping container homes has a future and they are able to expand residential living in the city.

Even though these shipping containers have been used to transport goods around the world, the shipping containers are safe to live in, having gone through a 12-point inspection and have been completely cleaned and painted.

This model home, which is 70% complete is hoped to show potential buyers how shipping container buildings can demonstrate faster, stronger and more energy-efficient construction. Lesley Horn also stated that, “I think we’re going to change people’s minds today”. She also added that, “We’re creating new history in Detroit.”

It is expected that once the model complex is complete, it will have taken less than 60 days (or three months) to construct. In comparison, a traditional brick building of the same size could take between 12 to 18 months to build, according to Horn’s brother Patric, the company’s COO.

The model complex consists of two apartments, the lower one comprising of two bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms and a full kitchen and balcony which is 1,800 square foot, whilst the upper apartment is slightly smaller in size at 1,000 square foot and home to one bedroom, one bathroom and a balcony.

Altogether, this model complex took nine shipping containers to build. Six 40-foot containers were used for the main body, whilst three 20-foot containers were used for the balconies.

So what’s next for Three Squared Construction? The company has two buildings planned which it hopes to complete by the end of this year. These include Rosa Parks Squared in Woodbridge and Kaline Squared in Corktown; two of the city’s most densely populated neighbourhoods.

The Rosa Parks Squared will house 25 apartments, whilst Kaline Squared will be home to eight individual units for sale. Each of the complexes will have ductless heating and air systems, whilst there will also be tankless water heaters to help reduce energy costs for all apartments by as much as 80 per cent.

So how much will these apartments sell for? The smallest unit at just 640 square foot is expected to sell for around US$150,000, whilst the largest 1,800 square foot unit will sell for US$350,000.

And if you are worried that you will be living in an actual box then don’t be. The lead architect, Eric Lloyd Wright (renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s grandson) says, “We will be striving for beauty and harmony with the site, neighbourhood and the material pallet on every project”.

According to Horn, there are already dozens of people who have already expressed an interest in these units, whilst other countries that have turned old shipping containers into new affordable housing include Brighton (UK), Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Vancouver (Canada).

With such a high demand for new apartments in Australia’s major capital cities, perhaps this is one concept that could become more familiar over here. It would certainly allow new apartments to be built at a much faster pace and provide a much more affordable housing option for those on a lower wage and for first home buyers, which is critically needed in Australia right now.
Published on 16th of July 2015 by Marty Stanowich
Marty Stanowich
Marty Stanowich


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