Inside Toronto’s First Shipping Container Home by Carl Cassell and Ana Silva

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The ‘Black Star’ is Toronto’s first shipping container home, designed and built by Carl Cassell and Ana Silva.

It’s a hybrid structure with three used shipping containers forming one half of the house, and the other half built using conventional methods, but floating above the couple’s restaurant, using pillars as support. Most of the intriguing home was designed, built and finished by Carl himself, including a large portion of the welding as well as a number of DIY features.

The 3 bedroom, 320 sqm home took a total of 9 years to actualize. From the design phase to securing approvals, the final build and eventually moving in. The containers were modified off-site, including all cut-outs as well as the spray foam insulation underneath the containers, and then delivered and craned into place. One of their biggest challenges was insulating the containers and connecting them to another structure, as well as finding a way to drop them between two buildings and from a narrow alley way. So much so, that the couple went through seven crane operators before they found one who was willing to do the job. They also had to contend with taking on the build while operating their restaurant without having to close its doors or potentially go out of business.

They were all concerned about the overhead wires,…I said, ‘Listen, I have visualized it. They can go in. 

Carl Cassell

All images courtesy the Carl Cassell website and Toronto Life with photography by Derek Shapton.

The Design

Offsite Container Modification

Placing the Container

Construction Process

Inside the Final Build