The top 10 shipping container, prefab and modular homes of 2015

prefab collage
via TreeHugger

It's a catch-all category of modular homes (built in boxes in factories and shipped to site) 3D printed homes and modified shipping container homes, the one thing in common being that they are not built conventionally and are pushing the envelope of housebuilding technology. Here are the top ten most popular prefab posts of the year:

10. 3D printed office building being built in Dubai

museum of the future 3D printed building© Museum of the Future

TreeHugger has been watching the development of the WinSun 3D printed building system, from its start doing little houses with clever tilt-up wall slices to its faux chateaux and apartment buildings. It was ugly but it worked. Now they are breaking out and working with decent architects and the results aren't dubious at all. More in TreeHugger

9. Gimme Ecoshelta, a wood and metal prefab system from Australia

Ecoshelta cabin exterior© Ecoshelta

The Ecoshelta building system is designed by Stephen Sainsbury architect, the system of corrugated aluminum panels on timber frames are "extendable, demountable, relocatable, robust and long lived." More in TreeHugger

8. Chinese company Zhouda builds modular house made from "mysterious materials" in three hours

zhouda house completed photoZhouda via 3Ders/ I want those handrails/Screen capture

Because China, this company plans to build two billion square meters of housing per year by 2016. That works out to roughly twelve million 1800 square foot houses. Wow. Too bad we don't know what it is made of yet. More in TreeHugger

7. Chinese company 3D prints cement chateau and 5 storey apartment building

Cement chateau© Winsun via 3Dprint.com It sure is ugly, but this company is onto something big and they have a working 3D printing system doing full houses. Watch out, this is the future. More in TreeHugger

6. Ecoliv modular homes have a long list of sustainable features that go beyond the factory

ecoliv exterior photo© Ecoliv Ask any modular builder in America about sustainability and they will say "we're green, we build in the factory where there is less waste and higher quality." Then you find that they are using exactly the same materials as any site builder. This one is different and tells a real story of sustainability. More in TreeHugger

5. G-Pod shipping container has the works in a drawer

G-pod in field© G-Pod

Shipping container architecture used to be about the mobility, about the fact that they were so easy to pick up and move by truck, train or ship. And you would never ship them empty, that's a complete waste, transporting a box of air. That's why this design is so interesting, it is a full box that unfolds and expands. More in TreeHugger

4. This little Australian Passive House pushes a lot of buttons

It's tiny! It's shiny! It's prefab! It's passivhaus! But I have to admit, it is not nearly as attractive as so many of the Australian designs we look at. More in TreeHugger


3. Cubitat shrink-wraps the guts of a house into a ten foot cube.

CubitatKelly Rossiter/CC BY 2.0

Here's a really interesting idea: a sort of plug and play core for apartments- It's a 10' x 10' x 10' cube that is totally configurable, and is densely packed with all the expensive wet stuff like bathrooms, kitchens and laundry, all the expensive dry stuff like closets and storage and then they toss in a pullout double bed, because beds take up a lot of space and they can put the works in a drawer. It is everything you need in an entire apartment except for your yoga mat. More in TreeHugger

2. Shipping container housing project being built in Phoenix

cog courtyard view© StarkJames/ Containers on Grand

These are now complete. The Mayor says " I think it looks great. I love it on a personal basis. This project has a wonderful feel to it and I know that its going to be ... hugely successful." More in TreeHugger

1. Montainer makes shipping container architecture easy

Montainer exterior© Montainer

There is a great appeal to shipping container architecture; the idea of reusing the strong steel boxes seems so green. I have complained that they are too narrow for comfortable living, too expensive to modify, and too toxic, with all that industrial strength paint and treated floors, but that doesn’t stop people from trying, and doesn’t prevent them from coming up with attractive little units like this 24’ unit from Montainer, a company offering a range of different clever designs. More in TreeHugger

Tags: Shipping Containers

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