SC Retreat House: Final update


The SC House is almost done


When people think about building with shipping containers, two of the big positives that always come up are reduced price and increased construction speed. Well, you don’t really know exactly how something is going to work until you try. I won’t argue pricing, there are simply too many variables that can raise or lower the cost of a project to make a definitive statement about final costs. However, when it comes to a speedy construction processes, this one went by in no time!


The west facade showing the double containers


We started our conceptual design work in October of 2014 and construction began before we even had completely finished designs. Foundation blocks were poured and the shipping containers where delivered and placed in early November. By the beginning of December the shipping containers had windows, walls and doors cut out of them, the construction crews were already beginning to frame the inside which would later help when laying flooring and drywall. We began waterproofing the roof decking just before Christmas had all but finished the interior by mid January.


View of the interior garden from the 2nd floor

By the beginning of February, construction was all but done and there are only some minor athletic issues to work out. Most of the landscaping and the green roof will have to wait until the spring but the interior green walls are already being installed and only the furniture is left to complete the interior. I was particularly happy with the wood flooring, which is rough-cut and has good texture. It has a great natural warmth that really helps build a sense of comfort, even in rooms that have yet to be furnished.


View of the lobby, looking out the front door



Stairs and 2nd floor hall, showing the whole length of one shipping container

The SC project has been a learning curve for everyone involved. We have had some big issues to overcome and all of us had to learn about parts of the project that were well outside our normal job description. For me, it was all about new materials, project management and how to document the actual construction of a building.


Installing the lobby green wall

Even though this project is all but done I will have a few more blogs about it in the future. I’ll be doing a “positive and negative” post about this project detailing some of the issues we faced whi8le using containers and I will also be posting one to discuss how we documented the construction processes, so keep an eye out for those.


9 responses to “SC Retreat House: Final update

  1. Really cool design bro. The final construction came out very nice based on the pictures you’ve posted. What was the final cost of the project? Did you fund it on your own? How comparable is the price compared to prices for both building and/or buying a similar house? Would love to collaborate. Very innovative. Please contact us. God bless!

    • Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. The corrigated shape of the container itself provides spaces for electrical and some of the plumbing. Lighting was designed as flat as possible to leave head room. Insolation was a bigger issue as the containers heat up pretty bad in the sun.
      The price of this project was not very high but that is not a good way to judge container projects. Our company funded it but we also make water proofing materials and a lot of the building materials used. Also, labor in China is pretty cheap. I would say that containers are a great ‘cheap’ option if you are looking for something simple but won’t save you much money if you have a big project in mind.
      We used 9 containers for this project and I am still doing a lot of documentation. I have a drone scheduled to fly around and do some video documentation later this month and will be taking more photos of the site now that the building has settled in and the landscaping has grown up some.

  2. Hey Nathan very impressed mate, the place looks huge. How many containers did you use? Also Im curious to know how much per container, are they priced differently depending on what country your in? I’m looking to undertake a similar but much smaller project. I’m heading back out to Korea in June so maybe we could catch up sometime..

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