Shipping Container Architecture inspired by Antarctic Bases
One of my great passions, having been involved in building a base in Antarctica – at Cape Dension, Commonwealth Bay – is sustainable environmentally-friendly architecture. The great lesson I learnt in this process is that it could be relatively inexpensive to construct interesting, aesthetic modular buildings using industrial and recycled materials.
The Base that we built, was actually a simple but major extension upon a couple of existing structures left by several previous expeditions.
The building works I was involved in in 2007-8 and 2009-10 involved significant extensions – from a very basic facility to a fully-equipped base with kitchen, mess, conservation laboratory and sleeping quarters, to the installation of solar and wind-power electrical generating systems. There was even a shower (of sorts)! Naturally, I was part of a team – incredibly skilled and knowledgeable carpenters, builders, electricians and engineers amongst others, who all pitched in. Two really great teams in two summers I was there – who I am lucky to call my friends.
By any standards it is quite an achievement to construct a building that will survive in the windiest place on Earth, in one of the most remote and inhospitable environments you can imagine – something I am very proud to have been a part of.
When I have time, I’ll post some more documentation of the build and subsequent developments and details.
Anyway – this led me on to the idea of building my own home out of shipping containers – different yet similar enough in some ways – modular, simple and cheap.
I’m fortunate to have worked with my dear friend Mike Shrapnel of beachousearchitecture on these.
Here’s a couple of iterations:
This is what we settled on for convenience, design and price:
Walter Gropius? Lego? Algorithmic architecture? There are many examples emerging around the world – but, really, this goes back to the invention of shipping containers.
Anyway, the next steps are to refine the design (there’s a lot to do) and get the DA through the council and start building. Some time, when I can afford it.