View Full Version : Container Homes and Businesses

Urban Pioneer
08-11-2015, 09:31 AM
What do we know about these sorts of projects?

Are they permitted and where are they permitted? I would assume that in areas that have historic fabric codes it would be difficult to install them.

It is my understanding that the container on 9th street is there on a temporary structure permit. It does not contain bathrooms and is only used as an office. I guess the structure at 11th and Broadway for the new Oklahoma Contemporary project is probably installed under a similar permit situation.

OKSEA on the other hand was permitted as commercial space and apparently does have bathrooms.

If container homes were permitted as single family dwellings, it might enable easy insertion of density into the urban core on empty lots.

Obviously there are challenges with container homes. Plumbing, insulation, and aesthetically pleasing exterior cladding.

When I have a little bit of spare time, I will try to photograph these three sites and post them under the thread. If photos already exist, feel free to add them to the thread.

I think that container homes could be a novel solution to cost effective urban housing if done correctly and in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

08-11-2015, 09:39 AM
How are these things cleaned and sanitized before use? Are you given the containers shipping records?

Urban Pioneer
08-11-2015, 09:44 AM
I called a container company and apparently you can either buy a new one or buy one that has been tested to ensure it hasn't been carrying hazardous material.

The ones I have seen have been sandblasted and repainted.

08-11-2015, 09:51 AM
OKC permits them like any other building... However, as you noted, if it's in a design or HP district, you may have issues with the materials and the appearance on the outside. Some of the design districts are limiting on the amount of exposed metal that is visible. There are architectural metal guidelines, but I don't know if they specifically address containers.

Urban Pioneer
08-11-2015, 10:07 AM
I think I am going to specifically request a clarification from the Planning Department Director. It would be pretty cool if an intern could generate a white paper on this... Where is it easy in OKC to get a container home approved and where is it more restrictive?

This seems like one of those rabbit holes where an individual could invest quite a bit of money into plans for a specific site and have absolutely no chance of passage due to codes, covenants, or simple neighborhood opposition. At the same time, I suspect as we have seen with SOSA, other areas might embrace modernism as neighborhood revitalization.

08-12-2015, 06:24 AM
I think any structure made from these containers, in any location, is hideous.

08-12-2015, 06:34 AM
I feel the same about a few different types of architecture, but that's not what the thread is about. ;)

08-23-2015, 09:52 AM
Beyond what others have said, you may turn to the plat maps of a certain neighborhood. In many, but not all, you will find minimum square footage requirements or building materials allowed. Those restrictions generally pass with the land and would be binding on a current owner.

08-23-2015, 09:57 AM
I think any structure made from these containers, in any location, is hideous.

Broaden your viewing horizon perhaps. It is not common in OK, but there is some truly spectacular container construction out there.

09-08-2015, 10:16 AM
some interesting comments on the practicality of building with containers:

What's wrong with shipping container housing? (

Urban Pioneer
09-08-2015, 10:26 AM
Great article. I have done a fair bit or research on this for applications in OKC. The best advantage to a container home is the steel nature of the structure. Also, the cost savings derived from eliminating roofing material and ongoing maintenance costs.

That said, the steel nature is also a huge problem. Your asking people to live in an "oven". The only way to make it hospitable is through extremely thoughtful insulation and strategically located air-conditioning equipment. If I were to build one for myself, an exterior skin would definitely be incorporated along with a location under large trees.

If the scale is ok with the inhabitant and thought is put into the thermal issues, it's still a workable and cool idea even here in Oklahoma.

09-08-2015, 03:57 PM
I'd use a shipping container home for a lake house in a heart beat.