Crossbox, a modern modular house by CG Architectes

Crossbox, a modern modular house by CG Architectes

This dramatically cantilevered home was designed by French firm CG Architectes. “Crossbox” is located in Pont-Péan, a small town in Brittany. The small modern house was built from four prefabricated modules stacked up two per floor. The overhanging upper modules provide for a covered entrance and a carport below, while the exposed tops of the lower modules are used for roof gardens. The sleek green and black finishes emphasize the stacked block concept and contrast with the wood of the adjacent garden shed.

Crossbox, a modern modular house by CG Architectes

With three bedrooms in its 104 m2 (1,119 ft2) floor plan, this small house was designed for a family. Modern houses usually have open plan layouts, but this one takes a more traditional approach. The floor plan splits up the public spaces, with an eat-in kitchen at one end and a large living room at the other, separated by the staircase and one of the home’s two bathrooms. The downstairs bathroom also serves as the laundry room.

Crossbox, a modern modular house by CG Architectes

Some websites have mistakenly said that this house is built from shipping containers, or that a copy could be easily built using shipping containers. However, shipping containers are not designed to be cantilevered. They are intended to be stacked with the corners of each container aligned with the corners of the one below. A design like this would require significant reinforcement of both the cantilevered containers and the ones they rest on. This floor plan also has wide rooms with no center wall running down the length of the house. Replicating that with a pair of shipping containers would require removing one entire sidewall from each container. The sidewalls provide structural support and lateral bracing for the roof and any containers stacked on top. While you can cut some openings if you add reinforcement at each side of the opening, there would be no easy way to remove an entire sidewall. So unfortunately for anyone hoping to build a similar design using low-cost shipping containers, it might be possible but it would likely end up being a fairly expensive project.

Photographs by Javier Callejas, courtesy of CG Architectes.

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