Shipping container homes are nothing new, though some of the houses shown off by architects and designers use 2 or 3 containers to create green, eco-friendly living space.
In China, the priority is cheap housing and for rural migrants newly arrived in China's bustling major cities, a clean 18 square meter (193.75 sq ft) living space is considered a luxury.
The shiny new “Snail Houses” shown here have been recently set up along Qingpi Avenue in the city of Chengdu's Wenjiang District. Chengdu is the capitol of China's Sichuan province and the city has experienced an influx of refugees since the devastating 2008 Sichuan earthquake that killed approximately 68,000 people.
The new container homes have special appeal here as they can be easily moved and their all-metal structure is highly resistant to earthquake damage.
To prepare standard, 3m by 6m metal shipping containers to be Snail Houses, 5 cm (2 inches) of flame-retardant foam is sandwiched between the metal sheets that form the walls.
The edges of the walls are then sealed, the sides are welded together, and a tile floor is installed. Water sources are installed just outside though no mention is made of bathroom facilities, elecrical connections, and access for homes stacked to multiple levels.
“There are a lot of people living here and it isn't cold inside,” remarked Yong Jianwei, a local worker, “and what's more, the place is close to the work site so it is very convenient.”
Convenience is one thing, cost is another and the biggest advantage Snail Houses have is that they are cheaply priced. Potential residents have two options: rent a house for 6 yuan (about $1) per day or buy a house outright for 10,000 yuan, or about $1,666.
Snail Houses built from modified metal shipping containers first appeared in Shenzhen, a city of nearly 9 million located in southern China's Guangdong province, just north of Hong Kong. Their success led to new container home communities that have popped up in Shanghai, Zhengzhou, Changsha, and now Chengdu.
Considering the fact that China has become one of the world's busiest trading nations, surplus shipping containers are easily available at competitive prices. They may not be the home of your dreams but as sturdy starter homes they're tough to beat. (via ChinaSMACK)