An ultra-low-cost container house for a family | JYA-RCHITECTS
A family of seven in rural South Korea now lives in a brand new shipping container house thanks to the design efforts of JYA‑RCHITECTS and financial sponsorship from the Korea Child Fund. The two organizations have worked together on several projects to improve the housing of very poor families, usually by renovating the existing home. In this case, however, the family’s rat-infested house was so squalid that the decision was to tear it down and start from scratch.
The initial budget could not be increased so JYA‑RCHITECTS had to design a replacement house that could be built at very low cost. They decided to build the house from shipping containers. Besides being relatively rodent-proof, containers would facilitate quick and economical construction with minimal work on site. Two 20′ containers were used for the dual-use living and bedrooms, while a third holds the kitchen, bathroom and laundry.
Three 20′ shipping containers only total 480 ft2 (44.6 m2), not much for two adults and five children. To get more space, JYA‑RCHITECTS covered the whole house in a tent-like outer structure for a “house in a house” design. The polycarbonate shell adds a bit of insulation and creates semi-outdoor space between and around the containers.
The kitchen container was pulled away from the others to form a breezeway that can be opened to the exterior with barn doors in the outer shell. One container was topped with a roof deck, providing additional space for playing and relaxing or for sleeping in warmer weather. Translucent roofing and cheerful colors chosen by the children make it a bright, engaging environment for the children and adults alike.
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