The real importance of the shipping container isn't the fact that it is a box; it is that it is part of a larger system of handling and transport. One can move them anywhere with standardized equipment. Professor Han Slawik builds his Homeboxes out of wood, within the internationally recognized standards of an ISO shipping container. The Professor writes:
Worldwide are almost steel containers in use. But wear, repair and maintenance of steel materials are more costly (in term of purchasing costs, welding, etc.) than for wooden materials. Wooden constructions can be repaired cheaper and easier. Variation and adjustment to changing necessaries and conditions are easier and cheaper with wooden containers. Live in wooden homes is healthier and more comfortable as in a home made of steel and wood is an environment-friendly material.
The Homebox turns the standard shipping container home idea on its end, turning it into a three storey house with a very small footprint, so that a lot of them can be packed together on a small site. Prof. Slawik tells Gizmag:
There are many gap sites within cities which can be used for temporary small removable houses. Furthermore you can configure the modules to create a container village or even a container city.”
One problem of going vertical is that stairs take up a lot of space. The homebox has a clever angled version of an alternating tread stair to take up less of it. More in a PDF from Professor Han Slawik