Turning shipping containers into modern housing

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a sustainable mobile housing system built using traditional shipping containers.

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Published
04.08.2015

Danish architectural practice Vandkunsten recently helped design CPH Shelter, a sustainable mobile housing system built using traditional shipping containers. CPH Shelter is a joint project between CPH Containers, which developed the project, Vandkunsten, Logik & Co, Homatherm and Multi-Living.

As the world moves towards a global population of 9 billion people, the need for new housing paradigms increases. Some see the circular economy, in which resources are reused in closed material flows and renewable energy is the driving force, as a potential solution. CPH Shelter is one of the first examples of a mobile housing project derived from the mindset and principles behind the circular economy.

The originators of CPH Shelter, CPH Containers, call themselves social developers, and they intend to develop solutions that support social goals. CPH Containers focuses on creating solutions to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live in a suitable place.

The moveable housing system is made for urban adventures, and it can easily be expanded to adapt growing families. According to the partners behind the project, those who use the system have the space they need and have the ability to increase space as the need arises. CPH Shelter excels in flexibility—like LEGO bricks, the containers can be combined and stacked in any imaginable order or system.

Offering CO2 savings of up to 80% compared to other modern housing, CPH Shelter is a low-energy housing system built with recyclable and natural materials. In addition, the rebuilt shipping containers cost about 10,000 DKK per square metre, which is a low price tag considering that the CPH Shelter housing system boasts a high level of sustainability and eco-friendliness.

Wood is a recurring element in CPH Shelter, and Homatherm delivers FSC-certified wood-fibre insulation. To increase sustainability, the containers used in the project are worn-out sea shipping containers that have been put out of service. The goal of the CPH Shelter project is to make sustainable housing available and appealing, especially to a mainstream audience. The project partners believe that offering distinct aesthetics and a relatively low price will help them fulfil this goal.

You can experience a showcase CPH Shelter model made from a 40-foot shipping container during Rising Architecture Week in Copenhagen, which will take place from 15 September to 18 September. You can also attend an event focused on the circular economy, featuring two inspirational presentations, a plenary discussion and a small tour of the urban developing area at the old shipyard at Refshaleøen. In addition, a pop-up restaurant will host an event at CPH Shelter during the festival.

CPH Shelter is decorated with cool Danish furniture from Herman Cph and Studio FEM as well as lamps from Anour.

Companies mentioned in this article