Got Boxes? Got Community Center. Cheap!

Anyone following what we do knows that it’s not just about “houses”. They know that we do a lot of humanitarian aid all over the planet. We’re doing it in Haiti. We’re doing it in Vietnam. We’re doing it in the Philippines. We’re doing it in Japan. ISBUs were made for creating “outreach and aid stations”. Build them, store them, ship them and set them.

You can create entire ISBU based AID communities in days. DAYS. And, because you’re building with ISBUs, you’re weathered in and weather resistant.

We’re building ISBU Structures in places like the Bakken – oil fields in North Dakota and Canada. We’re doing it on Native American Reservations to provide classrooms…

ISBUs lend themselves to easily constructed, easily transported building modules that allow you to build structures to serve communities.

They’re doing it in China, too.

It makes sense, since all the ISBUs (Shipping Containers) in the world come from there.

Shipping containers are just big boxes. Use them as modules and you can build almost anything.

Using ISBUs for a project means that you have affordable, sustainable, scalable and most importantly flexible space in a time-frame that catches many people off-guard.

We’ve erected ISBU homes and building in a time-frame that left neighbors thinking that “construction elves had built them seemingly overnight…”

Okay, this blog is about US, but sometimes we like to show you what others are doing. Here is an exemplary example of WHY ISBUs are so incredible;

INCLUDED (a non-profit organization) built something called the Community Cube, a new  community center for Shanghai’s migrant worker community. At just over 1600 square feet, the 2 story structure was completed last year and used ISBUs as the primary building components.

It’s located in the agricultural district of Chongming, which is a part of Shanghai. They didn’t weld the boxes together, they actually used big metal plates to bolt them together so that it can be disassembled and moved at a later date. Remember that it’s modular space. That means that you can reassign or multitask the different areas created to provide a library, play area, a computer area, and even large classrooms which can be further divided by using sliding doors to create smaller spaces.

They used whiteboard surfaces on walls and sliders to allow the surfaces to be used for education or entertainment purposes. (We do this in children’s bedrooms and in kitchen pantries to allow for “art” and “list creation”.)

The corrugation that was removed between the boxes was repurposed as part of the security fencing around the building.

They allowed the “filtered sunlight” to peek in by drilling holes in the boxes to increase illumination.

Existing ISBU cargo doors were left on so that the boxes can be opened to allow even more sunlight and fair weather in.

We’re not sure what they did about insulation, but you could easily use SPF (Closed Cell Spray Foam insulation) or RIGID to insulate the boxes for four season use.

A Mini Split AC unit could easily heat and cool the spaces. Run that mini split off a battery bank fueled by photovoltaic panels and you’d have a pretty slick off-grid set-up, anywhere that the boxes could be dropped.

Need a school, daycare center, local medical outreach program or a community center? You could do this for very little money. And better still, you could accomplish it VERY fast. Now… take this exact same design and split it right down the middle to include a service core using one of our kitchen/bath/laundry modules and you have a HOME built “high speed”..



4 comments for “Got Boxes? Got Community Center. Cheap!

  1. Sandy
    March 16, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Looking at an innovation project to build a community place for community work.
    I lived in these containers overseas as a member of the military. I know it can work.
    Reaching out for any assistance here. I am a recently retired vet.

  2. March 16, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Sandy, check your email. 😉

  3. Kyle Bressant-Page
    March 19, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Hi Alex and Company,

    I am a an architect, not mainstream at all. I grew up loving restoration, recycling and repurposing everything. So much is wasted here. Thousands of vacant lots, vacant houses… There is such a need for affordable housing right here in Baltimore Maryland. The AMTRAK ride form New York shows a wasteland of what used to be communities. I stumbled on container housing last year. I am soooo excited. It makes perfect sense to me. Rather than re-invent the wheel I am happy to see you have been doin’ it FOR YEARS. I appreciate your knowledge,experience and your generosity to share information. Some people think we’re crazy, but to have an enlightened mindset is a beautiful place to be. I purchased your book, downloaded it and will start reading soon. Please look me up if you need collaboration with a project in Maryland.

  4. March 19, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Hi Kyle,

    We sometimes laughingly say that we’re doing all your client education so that you can just go straight to the renders… LOL!

    The idea is that if your new clients are more aware, you don’t have to work as hard with theory or in negating perceived or implied negatives, be they sociological or cultural.

    The more successful ISBU projects you build, the more awareness that fosters, the better for all those families struggling in the dark trying to put roofs over their heads. The REASON that there aren’t more ISBU homes in America isn’t because they’re unworthy, it’s simply because they’re “so different”.

    We build bridges by pointing out all the similarities, all the things that ISBU homes have in common with their organic brothers and sisters. Then we remind them that all those commonalities are wrapped up in a steel, weather resistant package that stick or brick homes can only dream about… LOL!

    We wish you much success! 🙂

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