Building with shipping containers has been popular for years, but the actual process of transforming the old steel boxes into viable living structures is quite complicated. One of the biggest challenges is insulating the structures so that they can be used as homes, offices or shelters.
Containerwerk co-founder Ivan Mallinowski invented an industrial system to line the structures with a layer of foam insulation.”Insulation is the big problem with building houses with containers,” Mallinowski said in a Dezeen video. “If you look at the physics of a container, it is made from steel, and steel is a very good heat conductor. We build a special type of insulation. It’s a monolithic insulation, made by an industrial process and surrounds the whole container inside without any heat bridges.”
According to Mallinowski, using the specialty foam insulation not only makes the containers more efficient; it also allows for 10-centimeter thick walls, meaning that designers can make the most out of the containers’ already limited space. He said, “We can build very thin walls so that the space in the container is as big as possible.”
The company recently displayed a finished work at this year’s Milan Design Week. The installation featured a two-story shipping container home made from three refurbished containers. It was prefabricated off site, and it took just two days to assemble at the event.
A colorful exterior with large round windows gave the home a fun, contemporary feel. The modern design continued on throughout the interior, where high-end furniture and natural light created a vibrant living space, a drastic change from the structures’ original use.