A Shipping Container Home in Australia Made With Eco-Friendly Materials

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With the South Coast of Australia as its backdrop, this thoughtfully constructed home’s foundation consists of four shipping containers, a flat roof, and a variety of environmentally-friendly materials.

Designed and executed by Matt Elkan and his team at Matt Elkan Architect, the goal of this sustainable project from the beginning was to prove that good architecture doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. With the overall budget coming in at around one-third of the cost of any other project that the firm normally takes on, the modest approach to the building proved to be a success.

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Falling in line with the approach of similarly executed shipping container homes, the containers themselves are kept visible throughout the interior and  exterior of the house—with the interior walls finished in a glossy white hue and the exterior in a dark shade of gray.

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To allow for endless views of the home's surroundings, windows in a variety of sizes were installed throughout the four containers to introduce a modern element that simultaneously creates a light-filled interior. 

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A combination of exposed floor-to-ceiling windows and others that can be concealed behind the container's doors come together to create a design-forward hybrid of high style and privacy.

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To introduce new aspects of depth, the floors within the home and on its surrounding decks were carefully installed at varying levels in order to create the feeling of having souring ceilings and unlimited space.

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Despite the project being considered small-scale—around 1,000 square feet of house and 430 square feet of deck—it can sleep up to 10 individuals and entertain countless more, thanks to its sprawling setup.

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While the architecture of this Australian home is noteworthy on its own, the interior also brings just as much value to the space and its identity. Blonde wood was used for additional floors, walls, and ceilings in order to complement the industrial bones of the exposed containers with its natural qualities.  

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Specific details, such as the sliding farmhouse-style doors and matte kitchen, help transform the shipping foundation into a welcoming home.

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Along with the intention of keeping the project cost at a minimum, the goal of ensuring that it would be environmentally-friendly was met by opting to use various thoughtful components. Natural wool insulation for the roof, zero VOC finishes, 100-percent recycled doors and windows, and on-site water storage were all used to minimize the effect that the construction would have on the environment. 

Project Credits:

-Architecture and Interior Design: Matt Elkan Architect

-Builder/General Contractor: Luke Price Total Building Solutions

-Structural Engineer: Bruce Delprado

-Lighting Design: Yan Chun, Actwell Lighting

-Other: Rob Chapman, Architectural Hardwood Joinery

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