Village In A Container
Imagine a place with people without any shelter, their homes destroyed from a powerful earthquake. Imagine a shipping container air-dropped at such an area. Imagine ten 2-storied houses coming up just hours later.


Presenting one of the four models of a steel framed paneled housing for use in the developing world in the following possible roles/contingencies:

  • Disaster Relief
  • Temporary or Semi Permanent Shelter
  • Mining Camp Live-in Quarters
  • Regular Housing. 

In addition, in the developed world, it can be used as a:

  • Hunting or Fishing Cabin
  • In a Backyard as an Outhouse or a Play Shelter
  • As a Small Onsite Office, or as a 
  • Storage unit.

Here are some of the basic details about the structure:

  • This 2-storied unit is a snap together structural steel frame with adjustable legs
  • It is fully insulated
  • The frame is designed with limited flexibility and has tension straps or cables for wind loads
  • The legs allow for adjustment of base height on uneven grounds and also provides anchoring against high winds and earthquakes
  • Unit is designed for the insertion of wall panels that wrap around steel frame locking in ground floor, second floor panels, and upper and lower wall panels and held in place with screws or nails.  If screws are used instead of nails, the unit can be disassembled, moved and reassembled
  • The panels in the unit shown are installed from the inside, with the finished inside panel being pre-insulated. All floor, wall, and roof panels can be installed without ladders, scaffolding, or lifting or powered devices. Exterior skin and roofing finish are installed last
  • Design allows for and encourages panels to be constructed and made from locally available materials. Research for alternative panels is currently under way
  • Estimated time to install onsite by hand for 3 men is less than 3 hours
  • Size ranges from 94 sq.ft. to 440 sq.ft.
  • The design includes solar powered LED lighting, phone and laptop charging system, giving lighting for about four hours of continuous use at night
  • The frame system allows for up to three units to be assembled together as a type of condo-unit, for use on limited lot sizes
  • The shipping pallet is also designed to be used as a Deck/Porch for outdoor covered living and cooking; an optional bathroom module is been designed to sit on this deck
  • The expected life of the structure is 20-30 years depending upon usage and siting
  • Prices range from US $2K to $10K per unit depending upon finish and size. An 8 ft. by 8 ft. by 8 ft. simpler version of the hut, though still capable of housing 2 adults and 3 children, would cost about $1K with material commercially available in the US. This price should come down substantially, hopefully, with locally procured materials outside of the US

It can be completely stripped down and ten of these can be housed in a single standard 40' ISO Steel Shipping Container that will also have redundant renewable energy (both solar and wind) and fossil-fuel based power generation and storage capability. In addition, it would have a water treatment facility that would provide safe drinking water for the inhabitants. This container along with its on-board equipment is priced separately.

This container can then be shipped or heli-lifted to anywhere in the globe where it is urgently needed. Once deployed, this steel container would be used as a self-powered:

  • Community Center
  • Mission Control Center
  • Emergency Response Center
  • Medical Relief Center

The whole setup can be fully operational within a day providing for immediate housing needs for 20 adults +  50 children or 40 adults only.

And although this design costs more than the $300 limit, it also far exceeds the scope of the challenge. It won't solve a single family's housing problems. Instead it'll solve an entire community's--and not just the housing problems.

Presenting  "Village-in-a-Container."

--Designed and Fabricated by Patrick Reynolds.


Other entries in this project

The Temple