Just a collection of my thoughts or links to other thoughts on architecture and design.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Uncontained Living: Streamlining Residential Construction with DeMaria Designs

From Archinect:
 

by Martina Dolejsova At 40ft long x 8ft wide x 9.5ft tall, the shipping container is a transcontinental, intermodial traveler carrying potato chips, childrens toys, designer bags, or a functional residential space. Architect Peter DeMaria, from DeMaria Design Associates, based outside of Los Angeles, has dedicated the past five years on taking the messengers of consumerism and converting them into role models for an environmental and economical housing solution. Containers have a large number of structural characteristics that lend itself well to the production of buildings. In addition to that, theyre plentiful.

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Redondo Beach House by DeMaria Design Associates(Click on this and all of the images to get a detailed view)

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Redondo Beach House by DeMaria Design Associates

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Redondo Beach House by DeMaria Design Associates

Yet, it was not an easy task to use shipping containers for a residential home. The Redondo Beach House, his first realized container home, a two story hybrid of eight containers and wood framing with a container pool, required considerable thought into the engineering by the building authorities. We had testing done, we did all of these things that no one else really has, and it was accepted (by the city). And now weve got it to the point where what we design complies completely with the Uniform Building Code . A feat, DeMaria states as unprecedented and gives him the stepping point he needs to introduce this building method to more cities.

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LA Community Center under construction

The Redondo Beach House, awarded by the AIA in 2007 for Design Excellence/Special Innovation, used the raw, bulky, industrial mass and transformed it into a slender rigid frame. Each container was positioned and stacked so that the ends could take advantage of becoming full height windows, maximizing the natural light into the linear structures. Negative spaces allowed for 20ft high ceilings in the main living. As equally thoughtful and innovative, an airplane hanger door opens up onto an adjacent courtyard, extending the outdoors into the interior, and serves as an awning for the conjoining spaces.

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Container Placing

Every container is made to fit comfortably with other units. This has leant a hand in the rapid motion of building. Conceivably, everything could have gone up in less than an hour. You could drive to the store and get groceries and find on your way home, what was just a foundation, is now a two story building, says DeMaria, relating his experience in forming the structure for the Redondo Beach House. In reality, it took six hours to build because a truck was stuck in traffic, causing a minor delay.

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Mixed Use Container Project

Clearing the structural hurdles opened up the next step to a market that DeMaria feels is underserved. People want good design, DeMaria says, reflecting on what has made companies like IKEA popular with their kit of parts and assured quality. Using the industrial influences of Ford and McDonalds and applying it to the housing market, he has created what he calls a predictable process for building a home.

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McLoghlin Residence in Venice Beach, CA

Walking into one of the standardized 20 or 40ft steel units, you mysteriously forget while looking out of the floor to ceiling windows cut into the side, that not long ago this was stacked near a port. The teak wood flooring, now sanded and stained handled the rough loading and unloading of boxes and crates. In these rooms, a rich and warm space has been created by using what the cargo container offers: structure, walls, ceiling and floors. There is every component you need for a home. DeMaria, like other architects within the last decade, has acknowledged this, and is working, always pushing the boundaries.

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McLoghlin Residence in Venice Beach, CA

This has given the best solution to the lot we have and the cost. states client and mother Oona McLoghlin, who is finishing their container home in Venice Beach, CA, adding, I think they are fantastic.

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McLoghlin Residence in Venice Beach, CA

Solving the various connection and structural problems, DeMaria now tries to think beyond the container, seeing it as a building block for new spaces. Launching soon, Logical Homes, a container prefab line , is a made to order residence changing the way we think about home.

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McLoghlin Residence in Venice Beach, CA

--- Shipping containers were standardized mid 20th century with the shipping giant Sea-Land, when trade showed significant increases from industrialism and a more efficient method was needed for delivering and exchanging goods. The containers are designed to fit on top of each other, stacking like Legos. They are durable to salt water, water-resistant when sealed, and reusable. Today, there is a surplus of containers that are found sitting in yards along the coast. In the last twenty years, architects have begun to challenge and experiment with the function of these relatively abundant, simple and economical boxes for shopping spaces, offices and museums, temporary structures, and permanent residences.

Martina Dolejsova Martina is an architect and writer currently living in Los Angeles.


1 comment:

Viktorin said...

Martino,
keep this nice work going!