The reusing of waste materials to build homes is one sustainable approach to conserving the world’s natural materials. While we have seen eco-friendly homes utilize materials such as wood or plastic, the use of discarded metal containers may strike as somewhat of a foreign concept. Yet, for architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe, this was a completely workable piece of building material for his housing project, aptly titled ‘Containers of Hope’.
Located in San Jose, Costa Rica, the 1000 square foot home encompasses of two 40-feet shipping containers, plasterboard partitions and glass/aluminum windows and doors. The use of large glass panels allow for natural light and heat to penetrate inside the home, while an elevated mid-section creates a cross-ventilation system which reduces air-conditioning usage.
Following his award-winning Bamboo House project in the Costa Rican rainforest of Guanacaste last year, Saxe is no stranger to the ethos of sustainable design. The ‘Containers of Hope’ project was conceptualized by the architect himself, and self-built by his clients, Marco Peralta and Gabriela Calvo for a total cost of USD40000, which is considerably lower than costs of low-income housing initiatives in Costa Rica.
As Benjamin Garcia Saxe explains:
This project begins to expose the importance of design as a tool to provide beauty and comfort with a very low budget in the 21st century, whilst using creativity to not only redefine a scrap material such a disused shipping container, but perhaps to even show that there are viable, low cost, passive alternatives of temperature control to adapt to a very intense tropical climate.
Indeed, the brazenly creative housing scheme is a true testament to the idea that modern day homes can be affordable, energy-efficient and aesthetically pleasing. The reuse of redundant and environmentally hazardous waste materials provides a plan of action that could reduce need for extraction and processing of new materials. As landfill waste continue to increase, most of which, comprise of construction and demolition debris, reusing materials already in sight can vitally prevent landfill growth for a greener tomorrow.