Building homes with an acetylene torch

© Dave LeBlanc

TreeHugger has covered some of the not so giant work of Giant Containers, a Toronto company that converts shipping containers into homes and condo sales offices.

Toronto writer Dave LeBlanc visited Giant Container's operations near Toronto's airport for the Globe and Mail and was impressed at the things they can do with the big steel boxes.

Looking to add an awesome freestanding garage to your property? They can make it happen. Want a backyard yoga studio? No problem. How about an entire vacation property? Sure. What about a retail pop-up store? Yup. Or perhaps you need an Arctic research station, a climate-controlled greenhouse, temporary disaster victim housing, or even a home for Darwin the Ikea Monkey? Giant has built all of those too, and all using those ubiquitous, corrugated metal shipping containers.

LeBlanc is kind enough to note my criticisms of shipping container architecture in the article, where I go on about them being “too small, too expensive, and too toxic”; Daniel Kroft of Giant Containers rebuts them, noting that they have lots of steel lying around to reinforce openings, air conditioning is easy with modern mini-split units, and spray-foam insulation does wonders at keeping it all airtight.

courtyard© Raw

And while shipping containers will always be heavy, they sit lightly on the land: concrete tubes at each corner with an embedded steel plate, and the container is locked down in the same way it’s secured aboard a ship. “So you can drive your car into that thing, and the container may bow, but it ain’t going anywhere,” Daniel says.

Dave LeBlanc suggests that "What Mr. Alter is missing is a tour of Giant, where Gordon Kroft and his son, Daniel, have ironed out the corrugated kinks, so to speak."

Perhaps I should take that tour.

Read it all in the Globe and Mail; More on Dave LeBlanc in related links below.

Building homes with an acetylene torch
Dave LeBlanc tours a container chop shop and likes what he sees.

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