Matthew Coates and James Green unveil intelligent green ECO-PAK home kit
WAN is continuously flooded with inventive concepts for container homes and we’ve published various designs over the years. From Benjamin Garcia Saxe’s low-cost Costa Rica homes to LOT-EK’s display space for the Whitney Studio in New York and 4D and A Architects’ New Jerusalem Children’s Home in Midrand, South Africa, each of the concepts has distinct design flair and a unique brief.
The latest addition to this growing list is a resourceful scheme by Seattle architect Matthew Coates and aircraft structural engineer James Green. Together, their practices - Coates Design Architects and Building Container LLC - have conceptualised a design which enables an almost ‘flat-pack’ home to be constructed almost anywhere on Earth.
The outline is a number of steel-structured pieces delivered to a desired location in a shipping container. Nothing out of the ordinary there; however this concept incorporates the container into the structure of the new home, building the house around this central box in whichever way the client chooses, so the volume can become a dining room, bedroom, kitchen, etc.
Green pioneered the idea when he was working on a private residential project in remote Turkey on a site stipulating no concrete foundation. Using a shipping container, the conventional concrete foundation was replaced with removable frames to support the container and extended framework, forming the structure for the house.
Matthew Coates furthers: “The ‘ECO-PAK’ home changes the way we think about modular housing. Traditional container homes, designed to hold cargo, have not been highly successful because they’re claustrophobic and costly to modify - eventually the cost-benefit ratio falls apart. We are doing something entirely different. It’s one thing to renovate the inside of a shipping box, by quite another to create an eco-friendly home that uses the box as a structure.”
The Coates-Green team has secured US patenting for the design and are in the process of procuring international patents. A prototype is due in early 2013.