The Port-a-Bach, a container cabin | Bonnifait + Giesen
Architects Cecile Bonnifait and William Giesen of Atelierworkshop have recycled a used 20′ shipping container to create the Port-a-Bach. “Bach” is the New Zealand term for a small back-to-basics vacation cabin. The Port-a-Bach is a fully self-contained shelter for a family of four.
The Port-a-Bach addresses the challenges of building a vacation cabin on remote property within the limited time-frame offered by weekends and vacations. Requiring only a minimal foundation of six concrete pads, the Port-a-Bach can be set in place and be ready to use immediately. With a composting toilet and added solar panels and rainwater collection systems, no utility hookups would be needed.
A 20′ container doesn’t offer much inside space, so Atelierworkshop designed it to expand outwards. One of the original long walls of the container folds down to become a deck running the length of the cabin, and revealing a second wall of glass doors behind. Opening up the container end doors allows a pair of bunkbeds to be folded down and supported by the open doors. The bunks can be enclosed with mosquito netting or tent canvas as conditions demand. Once the vacation is over, the deck and end doors can be closed up again to secure the cabin.
The interior is fitted out with a small kitchen at one end and the bathroom at the other. Besides the bunkbeds, there is also a fold-down double bed in the middle of the container. Roller blinds built in to the ceiling serve as temporary walls to divide the interior space into separate bedroom areas at night. With the bed up, there is a limited amount of space inside for sitting out the worst weather, however the deck is obviously intended to serve as the main living and dining area.
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Photographs by Paul McCredie, courtesy of Atelierworkshop.
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