The ten most popular modular and shipping container projects of 2014

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Shipping container housing is a whole lot of fun; everybody loves LEGO too. But the real deal is how companies started focusing on the incredible container handling infrastructure instead of just the boxes; this is where the real impact will happen.

10. Prefabricated housing gains acceptance, goes mainstream

Kohn Shnier© Tom Arban/ Kohn Shnier Architects

I shoulda stayed in prefab. I became a blogger to fill the time while working for Royal Homes in Ontario, trying to promote modern green prefab homes and waiting for the phone to ring. Soon I was writing more than I was building, and now I am reading in the Financial Post that factory-built homes are shedding their ‘cheap’ label and exploding in popularity. More in TreeHugger

9. Grain silo homes like Bucky Fuller's are still being made

Really, compare these to the shipping container houses that everyone loves so much. 14 of these can fit into one container. They are designed for proper ventilation, with a continuous ridge vent, a double roof and a cupola vent at the top. They collect rainwater around the edge of the eaves. The windows come with 16 gauge perforated mesh screens. More in TreeHugger

8. Does shipping container architecture make sense? One builder who's tried it looks at both sides.

There are a few good reasons that one might build with shipping containers, and probably more reasons why one shouldn't. Steve of the Tin Can Cabin blog documents his building of a three-container cabin and his conclusion that it except in certain circumstances, it in fact it doesn't make much sense at all. More in TreeHugger

7. The Happy Cheap House is precisely that

Every time we show a small prefab the upper case comments pour in: ITS SO EXPENSIVE! There is always the statement that "prefab should be cheaper than site-built" and cost about $50 per square foot," which my dad built his house for on some farm in Arkansas." I try to explain that these houses are built of better materials to higher energy efficiency standards, that it costs more to not build out of carpet and vinyl, that building small costs more per square foot than building big. It never matters. However this one gets close. More in TreeHugger.

6. Casa Cúbica turns shipping container into vacation villa

I usually complain that shipping containers are too narrow and tight to make decent living spaces, but Cúbica have done a really good job of squeezing everything in here, including a full laundry, a workable kitchen and a bright bathroom. More in TreeHugger.

5. This is not a shipping container house. It is something far more significant.

Housing is the last local industry; offshoring it to China has been difficult because of the cost of shipping. Until now; Nova Deko breaks the house down to shipping container size components to take advantage of the shipping infrastructure. This will be huge. Really. More in TreeHugger.

4. The MiniMod is a stunning little prefab, beautifully presented

My favorite of the year. Sometimes one just pops out as being exceptional, and that is certainly the case with the MiniMod, which combines a simple, elegantly put together design with fabulous photography by Leonardo Finotti. This thing just glows. More in TreeHugger

3. Echo Eco-pods are modular marvels

The crazy thing about all of the different innovative housing ideas that we show is how design is so affected by the rules. It is much the same in the UK, with the difference that where in America, trailers are considered somewhat downmarket, there they are called Caravans. They can be quite upscale and wonderful, like this one at Brockloch bothy, built by Sam Booth of ECHO. More in TreeHugger

2.Minimalist off-grid modular cabin is designed to disappear into the landscape

Australian modular builder Modscape is all over the design blogs for a conceptual cliff house, but their real stuff is actually far more interesting. This single module home in Tintaldra, Victoria is empty much of the time, so it is designed to be inconspicuous. More in TreeHugger

1. MEKA reinvents shipping container housing

Meka Brighton© MEKA

Actually I am cheating a bit here, this story was published on December 30th last year. But nobody looked at it until 2014 and I think it is close enough. It is another concept where the shipping container handling infrastructure is what is the big deal, not the box itself. More in TreeHugger

See all our modular design and shipping container posts here.

The ten most popular modular and shipping container projects of 2014
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