Live the Box Competition: Housing from Shipping Containers


Felix Heidgen and Thomas Nagy of RMJM in Princeton, N.J.

There are a lot of shipping containers sitting around Newark, New Jersey; AIA Newark and Suburban and the Young Architects Forum put on a competition to figure out how to use them for multiple family housing on a big empty lot.

"So often, those with limited means feel they are being sequestered and forced into something substandard," [organizing architect] Mr. Stone said. "Why would they want to live in shipping containers if no one else does?" And then it occurred to the architects: "We should figure out how to create housing so cool that everybody would want to live in it."
2nd prize: MODULAIRE: Hugo Mijares, Tulio Lopez, Ricardo Hernandez
"This mixed use development seeks to manage available resources responsibly; designed to be significantly prefabricated it optimizes the reuse of shipping containers and investigates it's potential for such a project.
Systems have been kept simple - direct and largely passive. The life of the building is interactive with the energy it demands and with the inception on the site and it's surroundings."

According to the New York Times,


"Live the Box" posed a new and more extensive challenge: creation of an urban multifamily mixed-use project, using the containers as building blocks.

Architects were encouraged to study the neighborhoods around the Newark site, and to reflect planners' desire for open walkways and green space.

"People really put their hearts into it," said Ms. de Freitas, who supervised a jury kept "blind" to the identities of entrants.



Third prize: Tang & Yang Architects, LLC:
"The central feature of this project is the development of a modular structure that exhibits characteristics of cellular organizations, with the potential of arranging a large quantity of shipping containers into a complex system in a manner similar to the Lego game. We named it as Lego Farm, a mixed-use complex, as well as an urban farm, which include many sustainable elements such as roof garden, solar panel, wind turban, rainwater harvesting and compost chamber, can produce a healthy urban agricultural farm."

More from the New York Times and the Live the Box Competition
More Shipping Container Prefab in TreeHugger:
TreeHugger Picks: Shipping Containers Do More Than Ship :
Crate Expectations: 12 Shipping Container Housing Ideas

Tags: Architects | Design Competitions | New Jersey

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