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House container

There isn’t an architect worth his salts that haven’t at least investigated the possibilities of designing a home using a shipping container.

The high price of flats blows the imagination of architects and designers together with some local authorities are looking for a possible solution in sea containers. The up-to-date tendency is to look upon habitable areas inside a container. With an area of 60 square meters and the capacity of intersecting different units, maritime containers appear as a valid solution to housing shortages.

 

First thing first.

Building a home with container home is not especially expensive or new for that matter. The price of construction, excluding the production chain and the cost of land, is close to 300 euros per square meter plus the finishes that may be incorporated into them. Among the advantages of these original homes are some such as the actual habitable space is already there the only problem is the possibility of covering them with acoustic and thermal insulations Although the initiative has managed to gather a good number of defenders, and of course of detractors - which are many - denounce how demeaning it is for tenants to live there, since it is after all a container.

Galicia, Catalonia and Andalusia are the three regional communities that, for the moment, have shown the most interest in this new initiative that leaves the construction of the 30 square meter micro-flats "outdated". The municipality of Mataró, in Barcelona, has already opted for these containers in containers to solve the long waiting lists that, according to the Council, young people have to access a let apartment. The construction price, without counting the price of land, would be between 20% and 50% less expensive than what a block of traditional housing costs.

From this Catalan municipality they have already advanced that the rental price of each container would range between 200 euros and 250 euros per month. The use of these maritime containers, which already function as homes, civic centres or nurseries in other European countries, allows access to housing at a lower cost than usual quickly and innovatively, since its assembly can be done in a matter of days.

 

Arguments in favour.

The Galicians were the first to assemble their own housing containers although the use was different. Last summer the Regional government supported the construction of homes, offices and shelters on the Camino de Santiago with shipping containers. On this occasion, the justification was not the difficulty in accessing a home but rather its innovation aspect. The work of the naval sector and alleviating the high prices of the real estate sector. To date, the intention of the Galician authorities to promote this use of the containers has only been carried out at the Rural Technology Centre in the town of Marrozos, a study with an area of 1,600 square meters built from 24 containers purchased in the port of Vigo.

The rental price of each container would range between 200 and 250 euros per month.

Another of the advantages offered by the containers is, in addition to their recycling, the saving on structural works which easily represents 30% of the total construction budget.

Arguments against.

Despite the apparent advantages, there are groups that stand against the idea. The right to decent housing is included in the Spanish Constitution. This idea of containers is fine as an experimental solution, for a camp or something similar, but it is a shame that they pretend that the young and no so young people live there, still is a container. 

Among other reasons the municipalities never expropriate sufficient land to build apartments, apart from the non-compliance with the technical building code (Spanish Building regulations) and the need to provide some dignity to housing. The fact that this type of household is destined to the youngest sectors of society also raise some candent issues, such as why do we have to condemn young people to live in containers? 

To date there are few initiatives that work in Spain compared to other European countries. In Salzburg, for example, Red Bull has used these containers to expand its offices and in Vienna nursery or headquarters of companies located at the airport are used. The German border police use them as booths on the borders between the landers and the centre of Doctors Without Borders in Pakistan is built this way.

From Spain to the world.

The initiatives that are being carried out in Spain begin to jump the borders. The Galician company Arquitectura Asociados, one of the first to launch projects with maritime containers, has decided to export the idea as homes of first necessity to other countries. In five years they will take more than 25,000 sea containers to five countries in the Guinean basin for a total of 150 million euros. They have also signed the sale of 1,500 homes for the Dominican Republic and 2,000 with Brazil. To date, the company also negotiates with other countries such as Venezuela or Panama.

 

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