When thinking of the materials used to construct the external elements of a house, it is probably brick, stone, and wood that spring to mind. You may also think of glass, steel, and concrete as the materials that are commonly used in modern structures. However, architecture, design, and engineering are moving forward, and those involved in building modern houses often look for alternative materials they can use. Sometimes, the materials are chosen for their aesthetics, while on other occasions, functionality is the priority. Increasingly, environmental concerns are also a consideration when choosing materials for a structure.
The Use of Shipping Containers
In some cases, recycled materials are used to give them a new purpose and reduce waste. One example of items that are increasingly being used to create homes is shipping containers. After traveling the seas transporting goods from one location to another, they are given a new life as dwellings. There are several reasons why shipping containers are being used in developments. First, they are affordable, and this reduces the costs of development. Second, they are green building materials as they are being recycled. Finally, shipping containers are sturdy and durable, which makes them ideal for construction purposes. One company that has pioneered the use of shipping containers in architecture and construction is LOT-EK. It is a New York-based, forward-thinking company that is run by Italian architects Giuseppe Lignano and Ada Tolla. They have become known for their innovative approach to the adaptive reuse of containers for dwellings. While many people have started using one or two shipping containers to create small and affordable dwellings, it is also possible to create larger homes. LOT-EK has expanded the concept of container living to create a spacious property in Brooklyn that is now on the market for $5 million.
An Overview of the Brooklyn Property
The shipping container house is in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It is a unique property that has been built using 21 containers. LOT-EK designed and constructed the house for its current owners, restaurateur Joe Carroll and his wife Kim, in 2016. The Carrolls bought a plot with a single-family house for $699,000 in 2010. They then demolished the existing house to replace it with their unique shipping container home. In place of the original property, there is now an eye-catching, contemporary structure that juts out from the ground. Externally, the property reflects Williamsburg’s industrial past. There is also some irony to the use of shipping containers in this house. During the 1950s, the use of container terminals ended the working waterfronts of New York City. Shipping containers come in two standard sizes. T
hey are eight feet wide, 8.5-feet high, and either 20 feet or 40 feet long. 20-foot containers were used to create this Williamsburg house. There are 21 containers arranged across the home’s four stories, and these sit on a small corner plot that measures just 25-by-100-foot. Despite the small size of the lot, which measures a total of 2,600-square-feet, the home is a sizeable property. It measures 3,500-square-feet internally, has multiple living spaces, and boasts four bedrooms and 3.5-bathrooms. The base of the property is three containers placed side-by-side on an angle beneath the ground, with the other containers stacked across the property’s other three levels. Due to the arrangement of the containers, the house is an unusual shape, like a right-angled triangle with the corners removed.
Inside the Container House
Shipping containers are only 8.5-feet high. When internal materials, mechanicals, and lighting are fitted, it reduces the height even more. Therefore, the ceilings inside the house are relatively low. Low ceilings have the potential to make a room feel dark and small, but they have been counteracted by walls of glass that flood the house with light. At the rear of this New York City property, the glass walls slide open to terraces on the three levels that are above the ground. The external industrial style of the property continues into the interior, as there are exposed brick walls, reclaimed wooden boards on the floor, and metal fixtures and fittings. Some of the rooms are interrupted by structural columns that support the structure.
On the property’s ground floor, there is a living area and a great room that combines a dining room, a kitchen, and a sitting area. Other rooms include a dining terrace and a media room. There is a wood-burning fireplace in the living room, which the listing claims is the last of its kind permitted in New York City, says Dirt.com. There are four bedrooms in total at this property, and the three smaller bedrooms are on the second floor of the house. The second floor also houses a den, a home office, and two bathrooms. A master suite covers the entire third story of the house, and this includes a spacious bedroom, a walk-in closet, an ensuite bathroom, and a private terrace. On the property’s cellar level, there are two more versatile rooms. One is currently used as a den and music room. The other is a small room that can be used as a fifth bedroom for guests, a second home study, a small home gym, or additional storage space.
Outside the Brooklyn Property
Anyone living in Brooklyn can testify that parking is an issue. However, the new owner of the container house in Williamsburg will not have any problems finding somewhere to park. There are two driveways, one at the front of the house and the other at the rear. At cellar level, there is also a garage for secure off-street parking. Therefore, this property offers ample space for parking. Although there are no gardens at this property, typical of urban houses in New York City, the new owners can enjoy private outdoor space. The terraces to the rear of each property give the home outdoor dining and living space where the owners can relax or entertain guests.