India is witnessing a rise in container architecture wherein shipping containers are being converted into living and work spaces. 99acres.com takes a look at the concept and its features.
Already popular in port cities across the world such as Cape Town, New York, and Tokyo, container architecture is now making its presence felt in India too. This trend involves conversion and upgradation of shipping containers to function as eclectic homes, offices, hotels, cafeterias, showrooms and the like. While containers were already being used for temporary housing in the country, it is only recently that the ultra-rich and High Net worth Individuals (HNI) have started experimenting with the concept.
Jigar Patel, Owner & Founder - Akash Enterprise, a leading name in container architecture, comments that while container housing is still at a nascent stage in the country, these are growing in popularity in the form of offices, cafeterias, hotels, car showrooms, labour accommodations, sanitation blocks, security blocks, cycle stands, equipment enclosures and so on.
Container-turned-living spaces can be almost as comfortable as a regular home. These are upgraded to have electricity, insulation, plumbing, contemporary design and décor, and often boast of modern features such as jacuzzis and glass ceilings.
Rohan Agarwal, Managing Director, Geopreneur Group, explains that this trend is mostly visible where conventional building material and resources are limited and also in places where containers are available in abundance. Container architecture is also beneficial as shelter homes in the event of a disaster as these can be set up in no time.
Patel further shares that container architecture is trending in cities like Ahmedabad, Ananthapura, Mumbai, Raipur, Bangalore, Surat, Hyderabad, Patan, Barmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, and Mt Abu. This concept attracts clients from several segments such as companies dealing with oil and gas, renewable energy, pharma, engineering as well as wealthy individuals looking for different layouts.
While a 20x8 ft container usually costs Rs 1 lakh, turning one into a habitable space would cost around Rs 4-5 lakh. Similarly, converting a 40 ft container into a comfortable living space would involve a cost in the range of Rs 8-12 lakh. However, companies offer various options to suit different needs that begin from Rs 2 lakh and can go over Rs 20 lakh based on the amenities requested.
Upcycling containers into liveable spaces offers several advantages. Some of them are:
• Immensely useful for remote locations where construction is expensive or not possible
• Can be solar powered to save electricity
• Eco-friendly since old shipping containers can be reused and upcycled
• Can withstand extreme weather conditions
• Highly customizable
• Lesser construction time
• Space saving accommodation
Some of the disadvantages this concept suffers from are:
• Limitation of size since these containers can be manufactured up to a maximum configuration of 12x3.4x3 m.
• Improper insulation can make these structures uncomfortable to live in due to extreme heat gain.
• Risk of rusting and corrosion.
With an average life span of 25 years, container structures can be a cost-effective means to provide housing for the poor. These can be ready for habitation in three to eight weeks and are being opted for adding extensions to existing structures such as farmhouses. Experts share that the number of people choosing it instead of the time-consuming construction of brick and mortar structures is gradually rising in the country. This raises hopes that this concept might turn into a niche market in the future.