The Global Coworker Survey compared the reactions of new coworkers to those who have been in their workplaces for several years. In doing this, Deskmag was able to observe the changing attitudes of coworkers over time.”
Springfield, Missouri…probably not a place you would think is on the cutting edge of container architecture, right? Well, for The Workshop 308, they say things are changing and more people are getting excited about shipping container homes/design.
[editor's note: this post should have gone out a number of weeks ago, but I've gotten bogged down big time with other posts and endeavors]
I’ve talked about walls and I’ve talked about floors. I’ve also talked about how to design with shipping containers, and in all of those examples I’ve only mentioned two types of foundation systems: slab on grade and stem wall. But what if you live in a northern climate and need a basement? Can you still build a shipping container home with a basement foundation?
And as with anything, there are several options. You can pour a foundation footing, floor and walls up to your container bearing height (reinforced with steel obviously); you can pour a floor and footing and build the walls out of concrete block or ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms); you can even use a shipping container as your basement structure, BUT you have to take careful steps to ensure that the container is completely sealed in and out against moisture and the walls are reinforced against the push of earth (like any good retaining wall). Essentially, any typical basement structure can be used as the basis for shipping container design. I mean, all you’re doing is stacking a box on top of it after all, right? Right. I thought you’d see things my way.
These options will also depend on your local building codes, so, as with any construction project, consult an engineer/architect and your local building official to make sure everything is hunky dory before you get to digging.
Always being on the lookout for new and interesting shipping container projects, this one has been in the works for quite some time and is now in full construction swing. Don’t forget to check out the panoramic photos. Awesome! Enjoy.
I like to check my blog stats to see the random, and sometimes very strange, search terms that pop up and even take them over to google or bing to see how far down the list I am. Today I used a search term that is appearing more and more in conjunction with my blog – “shipping container floor plans”. So I headed over to google and copied in this tasty little tidbit of a phrase and punched the old “enter” key. As you can imagine the typical sites like treehugger and inhabitat popped up almost immediately, which is to be expected. But, one that I wasn’t expecting, and one that I’m happy to have now found is Alan’s blog and flikr stream detailing his construction of the studio pod – a single 40′ High Cube container insulated, finished and completely DIY. And let me tell you, this container studio certainly gets the “archisexy” seal of approval as I’m sure you’ll agree.
While the entire build took several months and more than a little help from what appear to be very skilled friends, this is just yet another example, in a very long list, of dedicated artists/builders/entrepreneurs/regular joes building their own container structures. I mean, really how much proof does it take to realize that this is possible, this is affordable and this can be done under your own steam with typically some basic knowledge of construction and a little “trial-and-error” experimentation?
And now for some photos.
Let’s face it, no matter what your political or socio-economic views are, you can not escape the fundamental truth that we are approaching (or could already be in) an energy crisis which leads to a crisis of conscience.
I know what you’re asking yourself right now: “what the hell is he talking about a crisis of conscience?” Well, let me expound on that for a minute. Currently, in the US a staggering portion of our electricity, about 45%, is produced from coal burning power plants, 23% from natural gas, 20% from nuclear and about 12% from other sources including hydroelectric and renewable sources. So, nearly 70% of our current electrical supply comes from power plants that have to burn some fuel source that is non-renewable. The other 30% comes from sources that are much cleaner and nearly infinitely renewable.
Now, as our populations continue to increase as people live longer more active lifestyles and more children are born healthy and free of disease, our consumption will only go up, which means we are being faced with our crisis of conscience: how do we not only maintain our current electrical demands, but increase production without depleting our finite resources and destroying the planet in the process?
Let me just tell you now, the answer is not simple. It’s not easy and it certainly won’t be cheap, at least not at the beginning. But the reality is coal and natural gas are finite – THEY WILL RUN OUT, and much sooner than you think. So why do we still rely so heavily on them? That is actually a much easier answer. It’s because there is this “rift” between the environmentalists and the “powers that be”. You see, environmentalists want nothing but clean and cheap energy for everyone. This is an admirable goal to be sure, and it’s one I share. BUT (you knew that was coming right?) they want it NOW NOW NOW. Or even YESTERDAY would be nice. Not some day off in the future or even tomorrow, but TODAY. Then there are the “powers that be” in Washington and on Wall Street that have been getting fat and happy for GENERATIONS on fossil fuels like coal and natural gas (lets not even start on the oil tycoons and OPEC, ok). Their goal is to prolong this energy crisis as long as possible so that they can keep jacking up prices and lining their pockets with the proceeds. Now, before you go all “big business is evil” on me, realize that those politicians you elected (yes even the pinko-leftist democrats) are lining their pockets with the same money and even enacting legislation to ENSURE that this crisis continues legislatively (can we say CAP & Trade = excuse to jack up prices).
NOW, where am I going with this? Obviously you can see that these two sides of the aisle are in a bit of a stale mate. What’s the happy median? Well, it’s a slow median…really more of a turning lane during rush hour, but still, you get the picture. What we need to focus on in the short term (the next 20-30 years) is reliable, sustainable technology. I don’t mean “green” sustainable, I mean technology that works efficiently and can be sustained. And that is, for starters, nuclear power. Coupled with an increase in hydroelectric, wind and geo-thermal. These are all technologies that WORK and are working RIGHT NOW.
And now you’re thinking “but they just had this huge disaster in Japan with nuclear power and people are scared” blah blah blah. Anyone who does even a cursory search through google or bing will see that this “nuclear crisis” hasn’t happened yet and isn’t likely to because the safeguards that are in place in these 2nd generation plants WORKED. Not to mention those 2nd generation plants were built back before you and I were even born. If technology doubles every 18 months, how much more efficient do you think today’s nuclear power generation is compared to 50 years ago?….yeah, I thought you’d see it my way. :-\
Where does this put us moving forward? I’m glad you asked. This is where our crisis of conscience really hits the road. If we are determined to leave a better, cleaner and more prosperous planet for our children then we need to take determined steps today.
Step 1 is something that every American should do in their own home, and that is to audit yourself. Take a critical look at how and where you use energy. Find ways to decrease your own personal energy demand and live a more sustainable and ecologically responsible lifestyle.
Step 2 is not so easy. This is where we push government into our lane of traffic and bump them down the road a little bit to get em going. We do that by advocating, first locally, for a decrease in fossil fuel powered generation and an increase in some combination of nuclear, hydroelectric, wind…whatever makes most sense based on your location in the country. Here in Florida, nuclear and wind make sense. It’s all flat land with no major rivers to tap for hydro. And the way this gets sold is by everyone working together to reduce their own individual load, thereby making more sustainable, cleaner technologies more palatable as the risk of huge electrical demand will go down.
Step 3 is the final solution in my mind. This is a generational change and will take time. But once we’ve worked it into our social fabric to be more ecologically conscious at even the most basic level like recycling/composting our waste, taking mass transit/bus and living in more dense urban environments then sustainability or “green” will come by default. It will be part of daily life and something that doesn’t need to be thought about. In my future, landfills will be something you only see in photos at the Smithsonian, our urban centers will be a towering megalopolis of people all living, working, playing and growing within an easy walking distance of a few miles (think UP not OUT).
All of these things can be done. But before any change can be made, the fight needs to stop. Collaboration and cooperation are the two key elements that make any endeavor a success.
I received this video from a container design/build firm up in Canada that I recently discovered. What amazes me is, this video was filmed in 2005 and this idea of collaboration and cooperation, at least to me, is only now beginning it’s infancy.
For the last couple of weeks, and in my previous blog post, I’ve been talking about this new idea of co-working where small business peoples can share ideas and pool their resources for everyone’s benefit. This video has put the frosting on the cake for me. There can be no real long term sustained success in business, especially in the climate of our current economic roller coaster that we find ourselves sitting in, without collaboration and cooperation within and across disciplines.
As this year begins to really swing into action, I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between networking and co-working. As social media continues to grow and expand and take over more and more of our time and energy, at what point is it no longer about promoting our own personal brand and more about sharing ideas and experience to further our profession?
First lets look at the idea of networking.
Social Networking, as defined by wikipedia (the ever-reliable “factual” resource), is :”a social structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called “nodes”, which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.”
In a nutshell, we’re talking about our twitter/facebook/myspace/linkedin/drinking buddies. This is a network of people that we socialize with, share news with, etc.
Now lets look at co-working
Again, hitting up wikipedia, co-working is: “a style of work which involves a shared working environment, sometimes an office, yet independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization. Typically it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is the social gathering of a group of people, who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with talented people in the same space.”
With networking, you’ve simply got a group of people with common interests sharing information, communicating back and forth, basically promoting themselves in whatever endeavor they’re in.
Coworking, on the other hand, although similar, is what happens when you take social networking to the next level. A group of like minded individuals, perhaps in similar industries or industries that regularly intermingle (think architects, engineers, contractors), come together to pool their resources in a common work sharing environment. Can we say GENIUS!
What I have seen lately, as we continue to claw our way out of this recession, is a growing popularity, really more of a viral epidemic, or co-workers coming together all over the US. Some examples:
Also here is an article at gigaom.com about coworking.
These are a few examples that I’ve been following for a couple of months now. CoWorkJax had their “kickoff” a couple of weeks ago and it was hugely successful. Entrepreneurs seemingly came out of the woodwork to participate in this event, this groundbreaking activity that is Co-working.
Why don’t we see more architects and engineers doing this? How many sole proprietors do we have in Jacksonville alone? Imagine for a second if 5 architects got together and leased one office space large enough for a series of workstations, a plotting station and reception desk in a storefront downtown. Imagine now that you are one of those architects. You’ve got projects piling up (small projects sure, but you’re spending more time working than playing with your kids). You’d be able to turn to your co-work colleague and say “hey I need some drafting help for a few hours/couple days. Interested?” They’d say “hellz yeah, brother!” And suddenly you’ve got a collaborative office where everyone is working simply to create better architecture (cause you’re all sharing ideas, details, consultants, expertise, etc).
Can you imagine that?! Oh how sweet it would be. I can imagine it, I can see it, I can taste it. It’s there, all we need to do is reach out our hand, collectively, and GRAB IT.
Now, what are your thoughts? Is it time to revolutionize the architectural/AEC community or am I just paddling up the blog-sphere creek without said paddle?
Jacksonville is full of empty lots and surface parking that once housed buildings and shops and all manner of dense urban fabric. This wasteland needs to be filled. But with what? How about modern urban townhomes and live/work lofts?
The first floor consists of a retail space and the public living areas. The second floor would include bathrooms, bedrooms, laundry and an outdoor patio. Perfect for young entrepreneurs in a recovering economy.