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

ISBU House - Sunburst - 3D Model (2009) (This is the link to open the 3D model in the Hypercosm viewer. It will open in a new tab/window.)

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 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.).

The Sunburst model was an exercise in fun, but it does depict some important possibilities using these units in home construction. In particular, the standardization of the ISBU units allows for economical usage of material for the creative thinker. The corners of the ISBU are steel square posts. (See it). Look at this model from the top and you can see how every other unit on the second level has been wedge cut (orange) to fit in with the adjacent (pink) unit. This cutting gives us a spare 2 vertical posts and 2 horizontal beams per unit (from the cut orange units). We then place these posts under the corners of the pink units, and the horizontal beams in a hexagon pattern in the center (not shown in the model) weld it all up and we have a very integral and solid structure. It all fits together nicely. In the 3D model, you will see some odd looking flat rectangles on the roof. These are simple representations of removed wall panels. I was playing with the idea of being able to remove all the side walls on the second level and reuse them as gap fillers for the roof. As you can see, it works. There is even enough material left over to do the ends as well.
I should point out that if I took this model to the next level, there would need to be some additional structural bracing not shown. In particular, in the middle of the units on the bottom level, there would need to be some vertical support added to properly support the units sitting on them. ISBUs are very strong, but stacking them relies on stacking them on the posts, not out in the center like I show.
This model uses 6 40' ISBUs on the first level, and 12 40' ISBUs on the second level. If fully enclosed the resulting square footage is insane:
First level = ~6077 sq. ft total, 4157 sq.ft free spanned (using the center post concept).
Second level = ~6077 sq. ft total
Using 18 40' ISBUs at an approximate cost of $36000 you get a grand total of ~12154 sq. ft.! wow...
The glass end caps and dome are simple ideas I was playing with. This design has a lot of flexibility. If we wanted to go crazy (and had a huge budget), instead of using the steel panels for a roof we could cover the whole thing with a dome. Now that would be awesome.

*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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