When American entrepreneur Malcolm McLean pioneered shipping containers in 1956 for his trucking company, it was meant to serve one purpose: carrying cargo for transport. The invention revolutionized international trade and expedited the once tedious process of unloading goods on shipping vessels.
The humble shipping container has entered the housing industry as a simple, low-cost option and has recently made its way into luxury designs. The perfect example is the Joshua Tree Residence: a futuristic-looking 2,100-square foot property soon-to-be-built in the desert just outside California’s Joshua Tree National Park.
With its high temperatures, wildlife, and inconvenient distance from most establishments, anyone would think twice about building a home in this dry stretch of land. But that isn’t the case for this film producer.
The unnamed mogul owns a 90-acre site in the Joshua Tree desert. One day, he took his friends out to the area, and one of them said, “Do you know what would look amazing here?” She opened up Pinterest on her laptop and showed the producer a picture of Hechingen Studio, an office building made of shipping containers. It was designed by London architect and digital artist James Whitaker for a German advertising agency in 2010, but it was never built.
The producer loved its curious design and reached out to Whitaker, who was thrilled for the opportunity to bring his exceptional creation to life.
“The picture was of an office that I’d designed several years ago but had never been built. And so it came to pass that next time the client was in London he got in touch and asked to meet up,” Whitaker said.
Since their meeting, Whitaker has created a highly realistic rendering of the structure.
The all-white building’s intriguing design makes it appear as if it sprouted from the ground, with several containers jutting out at different angles from the structure’s center. Its interior boasts a minimalist modern look that is both sleek and clean.
For early risers who love waking up with the sunshine on their pillow, this home provides the perfect natural lighting with its tall and expansive windows. The splendid desert view outside will give anyone a feeling of tranquility. At night, the containers’ angles would make for the perfect viewing portholes to admire the stars.
“There’s been a lot of care taken in aligning the internal halls of the containers, so when you go into the house at the start of the weekend and nobody else is there yet you can have all the bedroom doors open and enjoy standing in the middle and looking out into the desert,” Whitaker told CNN.
The shipping containers might seem cramped, but Whitaker’s design opens up into a spacious living room.
The Joshua Tree Residence features a kitchen, living room, and three en-suite bedrooms. Whitaker also plans to install solar panels in the garage’s roof to power the entire house and make it energy efficient. After all, the California sun will probably have the home’s air conditioning unit working overtime.
What do you think of this container home’s design? Would you live in one if you had the chance?