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Architects: Time to Step Away From the Shipping Container

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Shipping containers are often touted as some sort of godsend for a variety of housing conundrums. Plenty of shipping container homes are great examples of reusing an existing material, but don't get it twisted: Many steps—often costly—need to be taken to make comfortably inhabiting a shipping container possible. The trend of shipping containers as shelter has also crept into retail and hospitality design, and we've already poked fun at how far repurposing them has gone. Look, if you're into the aesthetic (and we are!) and can afford the cost to use them, great. But we believe that anything to the extreme is always bad (one exception: toile), so perhaps it's time to put the kibosh on shipping containers being repurposed into everything, from (albeit aesthetically pleasing) skyscrapers to brands trying to provide a place to connect with cool millennials at SXSW.

We get that some shipping container homes look really cool. But if you look deeper you'll find that repurposing a shipping container into housing has a lot of costs attached just like traditional building. Delivery and installation, insulation (be careful, because "improper insulation will result in heavy condensation on the inside of the metal of exterior walls," as architect Mark Hogan put in a recent op-ed published on ArchDaily about how impractical shipping containers were for mass housing), welders and steel … it does get very expensive. Oh, and did we mention that the width of a container once built-out is around seven feet? That's a bit cramped, y'all!

So, where do you stand? Has repurposing shipping containers gone too far, or is more truly merrier? Do you want to live in a world where every structure and surface is from a shipping container? Sound off in the comments below, please!

Poll results

· Opinion: What's Wrong With Shipping Container Housing? Everything. [ArchDaily]
· Tesla Pops Up in Southampton with Glam Shipping Containers [Curbed Hamptons]
· There's Now a Shipping Container-Periscope. What Can't We Make Out of Shipping Containers? [Flipped]
· Can This Souped-Up $65K Container House Go Mainstream? [Curbed]
· Ode De Jouy: A Brief History Of Toile [Architizer]