Four containers have been married to create Container Houses

The exhilarating walk into the dining and living area, however, cannot be overstated. Here, four containers have been married to create Container Houses, airy and light-filled room. The only clue that corrugated ceilings, walls and floors have been removed to create this room is the long, slender “beam” overhead, where all once linked together.

This would normally be my cue to say "what a waste"- they have cut out walls, floors and ceilings, almost half the containers, to create a space of habitable size, which could have been done a whole lot more easily if built from scratch. But in this case, where it is clear that the building is going to be moved, it makes some sense. Because as Adam Ochshorn notes, these things ain't cheap.

Those of us who’ve experienced and enjoyed visiting these transformed shipping containers will have a chance to own them once they’ve completed their sales office duties, Mr. Ochshorn says: “It’s going to be an auction, it’s not going to be a contest – there is, surprisingly, a lot of big money tied up in these things.”

The building itself is interesting too, being six storeys built out of wood, (and not shipping containers, which has evidently confused some visitors) which just became legal in Ontario. It is an example of the kind of development that I hope we will see a lot more of: smaller, mid-rise buildings on main streets, throughout the city. You can do this effectively in wood, whereas concrete is too expensive unless you can spread the fixed costs of cranes and formwork over a taller structure. I will follow up with more detail on the building itself in another post.

There is no form of architecture more ephemeral than the condo sales office, where a lot of money is spent to construct a temporary building that tries to represent the image of the building. Rarely does it go against type.

Another ephemeral and ubiquitous object is the shipping container. In Milwaukee, Rinka Chung Architecture has built a sales office for a slick modern condo out of shipping containers, and made no pretences about their rough and gritty character.

Preston at Jetson Green calls it "interesting, temporary, and functional." But it is more than that, it turns conventional condo marketing on its head. The last thing that a marketer trying to sell in a "transitional" area wants to do is remind purchasers of the fact that they are pioneers, yet the architects write:

Highly functional, this temporary urban art piece, designed as a catalyst for development in the Park East, makes a Modular Home and creative statement about this area's industrial past and its future urbanization.