7 ISBU House Prototype - Click Images for Enlarged View
7 ISBU House
7 ISBU House

7 ISBU House - 3D Model (2009) (This is the link to open the 3D model in the Hypercosm viewer. It will open in a new tab/window.)
Due to limitations of the viewer I'm using, you will not be able to see layers, or the inside of the model. I'll have to create separate models to accomplish this. When I get time.

Shipping containers are officially called ISBUs (Intermodal Steel Building Units) . There is a growing movement across the globe for using these units as building components for houses. (ISBU Quick Facts)
This particular model is one of my ISBU house prototypes. My "prototype" classification means I'm only playing with the structural arrangement of the ISBUs, not depicting a complete house model (doors, windows, etc.).
This model utilizes 7 containers. 2 40' units and 5 20' units. As you can see in the images, my arrangement uses the units as a perimeter for the first floor and the units on the second floor are both the first floor ceiling and the roof for the second floor. Because of the steel beam structure free spanning the open area is not a problem. And there is no complicated structure or engineering required for this house.
The little wood slab you see on the second level is a neat idea that's simply a result of using these units like this. It's a 8' wide wrap around deck on the second floor! The structure is already there, just add some pretty planking.
Another item you may question is the interior steel walls, and the narrow rooms that could be placed in a unit. The ISBU is a standard 8' wide, exterior measurement. The walls are corrugated steel. The metal itself is approximately 1/8", the corrugated shape makes the wall occupy approximately 3". However, the panels are not structural. This means as long as you leave the steel columns and horizontal elements alone, you can cut and remove the panels all you want. Some of my designs are engineered so the steel that is removed from the interior area is then re-used (welded) as a covering in other areas. In fact this design could go that route. Omit the center second level unit (it's structural overkill anyway). Cut the interior walls of the remaining two units, and weld that steel as the roof and end walls in the center. Trust me, the measurements work out. I should however point out that this design does require the welded addition of support for the top units (along the ends). As it is shown, they are actually floating and not resting on the lower units.
Here's some numbers to contemplate: Average price for a 40' ISBU is around $2000+/- delivered. A 20' unit averages a few hundred less. That's retail price mind you, buy in bulk and I'm sure you could get them a lot less*. Let's just round it all up and say $2000 each. So in this model that's $14000 in ISBUs. As shown, it creates 1920 sq. ft of interior space with 8' ceilings. And in the center that's 896 sq. ft. free spanned! You could do anything you wanted there without concern of load bearing walls. Of course there is still the cost of the concrete slab, and the rest of the details, but I challenge you to find a modern plastic and glue house selling for anything even close on a square foot comparison.

*There is currently a global surplus of these units due to global economic drop. They are sitting defunct in ship yards by the millions.



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