Living in a cargo box: the new architectural phenomenon
Contemporary trends in architecture and design seldom make their way to Maine. The office buildings of New York may be made of steel and glass, sharp corners, and geometric shapes, but, for the most part, Maine remains removed from these modern architectural phenomena, staying true to its cedar-shingled roots. Nonetheless, “cargotecture,” the newest trend in the design world, has found a home here in Maine. “Cargotecture,” as Seattle Architect Joel Egan labeled it, is the use of cargo containers in the construction of homes and office buildings. Anne Adriance, a resident of New Jersey, recently built a vacation home in Brooklin, Maine designed in this new style.
Her architect, Adam Kalkin, incorporated 12 cargo containers into its design. The containers compose the private rooms of the home, such as the bedrooms for Adriance’s two sons. The bright orange containers are stacked upon each other, forming two columns. A spacious, glass-walled room connects the columns, creating the centralized, communal room in the home.
“Living in it is wonderful,” Adriance said in a press release. “It feels private, intimate. It is so simple and yet accomplishes so much.”
According to Barry Naef, the founder of the Intermodal Steel Building Units Association, the use of cargo containers for architectural purposes doubled in 2010 from the previous year. There are several benefits to using these containers in home construction. The containers are eco-friendly: they produce a smaller carbon footprint than traditional construction methods. In addition, using the containers drastically reduces the amount of time it takes to construct a home. The containers are also much cheaper than conventional methods of construction; an empty container costs somewhere between $2,800 and $4,800.
The containers, which have been used to ship products around the world, have now found a permanent residence here in Maine. And with them, comes the inevitable question: What will be next in the world of home design?