Container Home by Benjamin Garcia Saxe Architecture


The final cost of the house (40,000 USD) is lower than the cost of social housing provided for the poor in Costa Rica. Perhaps 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.

Night time view of the modern house. Photo credit: Andres Garcia Lachner

Gabriela Calvo and Marco Peralta dreamed of living in their fantastic property 20 minutes outside of the city of San Jose, Costa Rica; where they could be with their horses and enjoy the natural landscape. They made the very bold choice of exploring with me the possibility of creating a very inexpensive house made out of disregarded shipping containers that allowed them to be dept free and live the life they always dreamed of.

It was important for me to provide them with the sunrise, the sunset, the spectacular views, and overall try and create a feeling of comfort and home. A roof between the two containers, made from the scrap pieces of metal taken to make the windows, not only creates an internal sensation of openness but also provides a cross ventilation which is surprisingly sufficient enough to never have to turn the air conditioning on.

The final cost of the house (40,000 USD) is lower than the cost of social housing provided for the poor in Costa Rica. Perhaps 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.

Already this proposal has began to spark a great deal of interest and could become one alternative to solve the issue of disposing of disregarded shipping containers in developing countries, as well as begin to solve the large gap which first time buyers encounter when purchasing a home.

Photo credit: Andres Garcia Lachner

Designed by: Benjamin Garcia Saxe Architecture

Technical Info

  • Design: Benjamin Garcia Saxe Architecture
  • Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Building Type: Private Residence
  • Final Cost: 40,000 USD
  • Area:100 sqm
  • Date of Completion: March, 2011
  • Materials: 2 discarded shipping containers, industrial grade insulation, glass/aluminium doors and windows, wood flooring, and plasterboard partitions.
  • Construction: Self Built by Client (Marco Peralta and Gabriela Calvo)
  • Photography Credits: Andres Garcia Lachner
  • Press distribution: v2com

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