Containers of Hope, a low-cost home by Benjamin Garcia Saxe
The owners of this unique small house dreamed of living a simpler life on their rural property in Costa Rica. Not wanting to take on a large debt, they were receptive when their architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe suggested constructing their new home from used shipping containers. The resulting house was built in 2011 for $40,000.
The design uses two 40-foot shipping containers placed alongside each other with a gap between. The gap was filled in to create a central corridor with the rooms arranged along either side. It has a raised roof constructed from the sections of container wall that were removed for windows and other openings. The two containers are also offset laterally, adding interest to the floor plan and making the house seem larger.
The central corridor with its raised roof is a significant architectural and functional feature. Upon entering through the front door, visitors have a clear view down the length of the corridor to the windows at the far end. This long view and the raised ceiling work together to create a feeling of spaciousness. Clerestory windows along both sides bring light to the entire house, and can be opened to catch cross breezes for natural cooling and ventilation. The raised roof also adds architectural interest to the exterior of an inherently boxy structure.
Although the floor plan shows two bedrooms, you can only reach the bathroom by going through the master bedroom, suggesting that the smaller bedroom is probably intended as more of a den or home office. For a more practical two-bedroom plan, the bathroom and walk-in closet could be swapped, allowing the bathroom to open directly off the living area.
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Photographs by Andres Garcia Lachner.
Text copyright 2012 SmallHouseBliss. All Rights Reserved.
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This is a great house !
Here is a house that was clearly “inspired” by this one – its a very similar external look but very different floor plan.
I love the look and feel of this house.
My only ponderings here are of whether a better arrangement of the bathroom / toilet area could be achieved? Its second bedroom is grand & means that if it were a weekend retreat that guests could be invited too.
It would be interesting to know the approximate cost of this construction also.
Hi John, the cost was $40,000. You could certainly swap the bathroom with the large walk-in closet, which would allow an entrance to the bathroom from the living area. Thanks for stopping by!
The price points is good, no doubt about it. I’ve got to go find those sites I now need!
i love the simplicity of it and the open floor plan the center hallway gives, would however put shades in the bathroom
could we get some info about the materials used in the interiors…….but an amazing project 🙂
Help, can this be done in the US. Are building codes usually an issue?
Where can I purchase the blueprints for this house?
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How is the center (non container) of the house constructed? Is it a wood-steel hybrid like the Cordell House or structural steel and supports like a trellis system? I love the small footprint, cost and possible efficiency of this home. How is it heated? Baseboard heaters would be clean and unobtrusive but I’d like to see some way to heat this home with a cast iron wood stove and vent fans…ideas ideas
LEGO Edition: Container of Hope
I LOVE/WANT this house! Do you know WHERE in Costa Rica that it was built, where to find land, and most importantly, where is the archetect located and is s/he still in business This home us exactly what we have been seeking — thank you!
Mr Saxe l love your work very impressive I couldn’t not believe my eyes when I saw this. As a matter of fact I would like to get in touch with if possible, I have a project in mind that’s quite similar to what you do and I think without any doubts that you are the right person for this project. I reside in Washington D.C but the project is in the carribean . Here is my contact infos:
Ph# 786-773-0109 I look forward in meeting sir, thx.