Good Example Of Research Paper On Container City II
Container City II is a building constructed from old shipping containers in London at Trinity Buoy Wharf. The building is adjacent to its predecessor, Container City I constructed in 2001. Container City II was an expansion of Container City I and was commissioned in 2002. The container buildings are built by stacking the containers in a vertical pile and varying the horizontal alignment to achieve a unique and sophisticated design. This is a paper on Container City II. Special focus is given to its architectural design, color, and environmental, social, and economic implications.
Container City II was built under the spirit of “Urban Space Management” which advocates for the use of “retired” shipping containers to provide low cost accommodation and office space (Container City). Structures similar to Container City I and II have been set up in other parts of the world. In 2001, twelve classrooms were fabricated from containers in a project named “Container Learn” in Tower Hamlets College (Slawik 25). The classrooms were setup in the short duration between semesters. A similar building is the Clipper building, also in Trinity Buoy Wharf, completed in January 2015.
Container City II, which built purely from shipping containers, was built at the location, Trinity Buoy Wharf adjacent, due to the close proximity to Thames River shipping yard (Container City). In this locality, shipping containers are available in abundance. There are thousands of unseaworthy containers lying around in the various shipping yards such as Green’s Ship Yard. The cost of returning empty containers to their origin is very high. As a result, many containers, even some in good operational conditions, remain sitting and wasting in ports all over the world. For people living near ports, picking the unused containers and transporting them to an open site costs very little money. Also, the buying prices are low since the sellers are seeking to dispose containers in far flung ports. Therefore, the cost of putting up a temporary housing structure using containers is lower than using other construction materials such as concrete or wood.
The building architecture can be attributed to the fact that the community in that locality are said to be artists and creative, interesting people. A lot of creativity and imagination was required to come up with the idea of applying waste containers into gainful use and developing the building design. No architectural genius was required to develop the design because it involved stacking the containers on top of each other.
Apart from putting old and derelict containers into use, the project also garners income for the developers. Currently, Container City II is being lent out to holiday makers at a rate of $199 a month. Bookings can be done online on a website that caters for unique structures called Airbnb (Container City).
Elsewhere, containers housing structures have been put up. The most prominent are Keetwonen City with 1,000 container housing units which acts as student dormitories in Amsterdam. Every housing unit is complete with a kitchen, bathroom, and a balcony. Also in Washington Tukwila, StarBucks have put up a drive-thru store from used and renovated shipping containers. The Senior global StarBucks store designer, Anthony P., intimated that the container store was inspired by the need to retain items used in the company’s supply chain, including containers (Slawik 36).
Analysis of architectural design
Container City II consists of five layers of containers stacked on top of each other. Each container layer makes up a floor. The container’s colors range from red, white, yellow, and orange. The containers on the second floor are overhanging forming a canopy over a verandah and supported by metallic beams on either side of the building. Sections of containers have been cut out and hung from container walls to form cantilever balconies. The first floor can be accessed by a winding staircase embedded on one of the support beams. Circular openings for windows were cut out from container walls and covered with window panes. Door openings were made through rectangular perforations as required. A walkway joins Container City I and II on each floor.
The inside of the containers have been lined with wooden floors and plywood on the walls. The wood insulates the inside of the structure from external temperature fluctuations.
Construction Procedure of a Container House
Container buildings are temporary structures. They are makeshift structures which can be transferred from one place to another if the land on which they are set on is required for other purposes. The owner of the house can also move together with the house in case he wants to move from one location to another.
Container housing, also known as cargotecture, is an architectural trend that is quickly picking pace. Some companies, such as Meka World Toronto, are selling prefabricated container homes. The homes are built using brand new containers and shipped to the customer’s location on order. The containers are customized according to customer’s preference.
The first step in construction of a container house is coming up with the design drawings. The design shows the exact number of containers to be used and where each container will be placed. Then the containers are prepared in line with the design. The drainage, ventilation, Windows, balconies, doors and other openings are cut from the containers using electrical gliders and drills. Welding for support structures such as walkways and stairwells are also done on the containers before stacking. The stairwells and other similar structures are prepared separately and added to the building after stacking. After the containers have been fully prepared, they are transported to the site and stacked according to the design on a concrete foundation. The containers are lifted by forklifts and cranes then fastened to each other by bolts on the vertices. This setup allows for quick dismantling of the structure when required (Kotnik 56).
The design of container houses involves visualizing the final required house structure. Then the containers are prepared before by cutting out the windows and door openings. Therefore, each container has a specific position where it should be fixed according to the design. Very fine measurements are taken to the final millimeter. The doors, windows, and other openings are cut out at very high precision. This ensures seamless jointing and congruency of the containers when jointing them to a single unit.
Figure 3: Image showing the construction of container house, Source: Containercity.com
After stacking the containers, the stairwells and the walkways are embedded to the structure. Prefabricated glass and metal windows and doors are added. Finally, the finishing touches are done to make the house habitable such as addition of thermal insulation, wooden floors, and sanitary tiles in the kitchens and the bathrooms.
Advantages of using containers as modular structure units
Shipping containers have several advantages as a construction material:
Strength and durability: Shipping containers are designed to carry heavy loads and withstand the accumulated load from successive stacking. They are also optimized to withstand harsh conditions such as the marine environment and being exposed to road salts during road transport.
Standard construction Modules: Shipping containers have standard measurements. All the containers have uniform width and two sets of length and height. Therefore, combining them to form a large structure is very easy and convenient. Furthermore, they have provisions which enable them to interlock to each other. This greatly reduces construction labor as prepared containers are simply stacked on top and alongside each other. Shipping containers can withstand loading due to stacking of up to 12 layers (Kotnik 63).
Mobility: Container houses can be easily moved from one location to another by simply dismantling the structure to individual containers. The containers can then be transported by sea, road or rail because they conform to standard shipping sizes.
Availability and low Expenses: Old shipping containers are readily and cheaply available all over the world. Low cost containers make high quality structures with very little labor involved. Used containers can be purchased at $800 USD while new ones retail at $6000 on average. A residential building with three bedrooms can be put up using three containers.
Simple foundation: Shipping containers have very strong corners which are designed to support and maintain rigidity of its structure. Therefore, construction of a foundation is very easy as it involves connection of support structures to the four corners of a container. The four upper corners of a container are designed to support stacking and are also very strong.
Eco friendly: The use of shipping containers leads to utilization of tones of steel, each 40 foot containers weighs about 3500kg. Containers use also reduces carbon producing activities involved production of conventional construction materials such as cement.
Disadvantages of Shipping Containers as Construction Materials
Temperature regulation: Steel is a good thermal conductor and heats up very fast under hot conditions; likewise, it also gets very cold in cold conditions such as during winter. Therefore, more insulation material is required than in wooden or concrete structures.
Lack of flexibility: It is very difficult to create spaces with different measurements from the default container measurements. Such an undertaking is expensive and time consuming.
Rusting: Poor finishing, or its wearing off from the container walls result in rusting under temperate conditions.
Use of specialized construction equipment: The weight and size of the containers make it impossible to move them using simple tools. Cranes and forklifts have to be used to move them.
Low acceptance by building regulators: The construction of residential buildings by purely using steel is not a widespread practice. Obtaining permits for such buildings might be difficult depending on regional regulations.
Danger of exposure to toxins: Containers carry a range of varying cargo throughout their lifetime. Spillage and contamination may occur on the container walls which might affect habitation (Kotnik 65).
Exposure to solvents: Paints and sealants used during manufacture can release solvents which can be harmful.
Damage: Containers disposed by shipping companies might have physical faults such as cracks and broken welds. This will affect the integrity of the structures built.
Weak roof: the container roof, unlike the two ends, is relatively weak and can only support a 300kg load (Kotnik 65).
Container City II Design
Figure 1: Image of Container City II, Source: trinitybuoywharf.com
Container City II is has 22 units of one bed roomed flats with 431 foot of floor space per unit. Each container measures 40*8*8 foot. The upper floors are accessed by a stairwell or a lift. The stairwell is cased in an upturned container between Container City I & II. Building Container City I involved arrangement of the containers in to a block by aligning them parallel to each other. Conversely, containers in Container City II are alternatively alligned with container levels being perpendicular to each other. This gives Container City II a more artistic look than Container City I.
Figure 2: Image showing the sequence and pattern of container alignment for Container City I and II Source: Containercity.com
Analysis of Containers’ Structural Strength
A shipping container is designed to withstand loading due to shipment, handling, and storage. Shipping containers are of two types, intermodal freight containers and corrugated boxes. Corrugated containers are not reusable while the intermodal freight type of containers allow for continued used across a range of shipping modes without unloading and reloading. Therefore, the steel intermodal containers are more suitable for building construction over the corrugated containers.
ISO certified shipping containers are tested according to ISO 1496/1 regulations which outline the static and dynamic loading to be conformed with. According to these regulations, a 20 foot container is supposed to have a gross weight of 52,910 lbs and a tare weight of 5,000 lbs. A container loaded to the maximum gross weight can withstand a 2g vertical, 0.6g lateral loads, and 2g longitudinal loading. The container should also be able to withstand eight similarly loaded containers stacked on top of it. The side and end walls should withstand 0.6p and 0.4p loading respectively without buckling. The weakest part of the roof, the central area, should support 660 pounds per 2' x 1' area. Therefore, the roof can support a 330 lbs/sq. ft. loading. Thus, the roof of a container house can support a snow load of 30 lbs per sq foot (Slawik 42).
The roof of a container is made from several layers of corrugated 14 ga. Cor-Ten steel welded together. The steel used for the walls has a tensile strength of 70 ksi and yield strength of 50 ksi (Slawik 43). Therefore, the roof of the container cannot be damaged by suction or uplift forces caused by winds. Consequently, the container house is equally strong.
A 20 foot long container is designed to have floor strength capable of supporting 16,000 lbs per 44 sq. inches (Slawik 42). This is twice its payload capacity of 47,895.
Building of a Container House Using Modern Technology
If Container City II building was built today, it would be different from its current state. The difference in the building design could be caused by economical reasons, architectural design trends, and building regulations.
One of the differences that might be observed between Container City II and a present day container house is the maximum utilization of natural lighting. This would be exhibited by floor to ceiling glass windows with retractable curtains. Utilization of natural lighting is a building trend that has been gaining traction in the past few years due to the clamor for energy efficiency and sustainable buildings.
The building would also utilize proper passive heating and cooling by being aligned to the suns path. Passively heated buildings are oriented in the north south direction. The sun heats up the building during the day and the walls release the heat at night.
A modern day container house would have a higher number of floors. This is because of the escalating real estate prices. A higher number of floors would save on construction space therefore greatly saving on costs.
The house would also incorporate a renewable energy system. Container houses are regarded as green projects due to utilization of discarded shipping containers. A container house designer might prefer to drive the green image even further by installing a solar photovoltaic or a solar water heating system.
The second, third and fifth floor of the house are accessed through a lift. In conventional buildings, occupants have the option of using either the lift or the stairs. A building with the lift option only stands the risk of inconveniencing occupying occupants.
Container architecture is rapidly growing all over the world. Containers offer low cost housing solutions and require very little construction time and labor. Embracing container housing in all regions and not necessarily along coastlines will tame runway real estate prices. Containers also reduce pollution through reuptake of steel and reduction of cement concrete materials production activities.
“Container City”. Containercity.com. USM, 2013. 24 Feb. 2015.
“Container City”. Trinity Buoy Wharf. n.p., 2013. Web. 24 Feb. 2015.
Kotnik, Jure. New Container Architecture: Design Guide + 30 Case Studies. Barcelona: LinksBooks, 2013. Print.
Slawik, Han. Container Atlas: A Practical Guide to Container Architecture. Berlin: Gestalten, 2010. Print.
“Container City”. Containercity.com. USM, 2013. 24 Feb. 2015.
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