On the outskirts of San Jose, Costa Rica is a little cottage, but not the log cabin that may be coming to you mind right now, nope, its a steel cottage with floor to ceiling windows, sitting on concrete piers and made of shipping containers.
The Architects at Benjamin Garcia Saxe created this relatively inexpensive home for their clients who desired to live outside the city and enjoy the natural landscape. One key thing with using shipping containers was to provide great views of the surrounding nature while creating a feeling of homeliness and comfort, not an easy task for when working with steel boxes.
The Architects made use of 2 Nos 40 ft containers, placing them side by side with about 1.5m of space between them then staggering their positions to allow for better airflow and relatively large open living area and lots of daylight. A great feature that shows a sense of responsibility and prudence, was with the roof between the two containers. Also designed to maximise airflow and daylight, the roof was made using the steel container walls cut-out to for windows and the large living area. Its placement helps to keep the sun out and foster good cross ventilation which was said to be so efficient that the residents may never have to make use of air conditioning in the hot tropical climate of Costa Rica. Bold Claim.
All of this prudent brilliance cost about $40,000, which is about N 6,700,000, not too bad for a 2 bedroom fully detached house covering just 100sqm. This price tag is apparently lower than the cost of social housing provided for the poor in Costa Rica, something sorely needed on this side of the equator, but I digress. All things considered, (fittings, fixtures, etc) the cost of house is relatively low and is something of an expose with regard to just how impactful good design can be. It also shows the possibilities with upcycling old shipping containers, to create viable, low cost (not cheap), tropically suitable and appropriate housing. Hopefully we can get to see more of such projects across other developing countries (Nigeria!!!) which can help reduce (by however small a percentage) the housing deficit that we currently face and give the lower tier customers a fighting chance at home ownership.