Launch Slideshow

A pier-and-beam foundation handles the site's expansive soil. Spray-foam insulation, along with a green roof, helps keep the building cool all year round.

shipping container guest house

shipping container guest house

  • The guest house doubles as a space for the owner to work on art projects with her children.

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    The guest house doubles as a space for the owner to work on art projects with her children.

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    The guest house doubles as a space for the owner to work on art projects with her children.

  • A pier-and-beam foundation handles the site's expansive soil. Spray-foam insulation, along with a green roof, helps keep the building cool all year round.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmpFACF%2Etmp_tcm48-619180.jpg

    true

    A pier-and-beam foundation handles the site's expansive soil. Spray-foam insulation, along with a green roof, helps keep the building cool all year round.

    600

    A pier-and-beam foundation handles the site's expansive soil. Spray-foam insulation, along with a green roof, helps keep the building cool all year round.

  • Red sheet metal and bamboo plywood serve as low-maintenance interior surfaces.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmpFAD0%2Etmp_tcm48-619181.jpg

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    Red sheet metal and bamboo plywood serve as low-maintenance interior surfaces.

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    Chris Cooper

    Red sheet metal and bamboo plywood serve as low-maintenance interior surfaces.

  • Red sheet metal and bamboo plywood serve as low-maintenance interior surfaces.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmpFAD1%2Etmp_tcm48-619182.jpg

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    Red sheet metal and bamboo plywood serve as low-maintenance interior surfaces.

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    Chris Cooper

    Red sheet metal and bamboo plywood serve as low-maintenance interior surfaces.

  • P:\Marketing\HILL CONTAINER STUDIO\Plans\Floor plan 8.5X11 (1)

    A plan of the shipping container guest house.

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    A plan of the shipping container guest house.

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    Courtesy Poteet Architects

    A plan of the shipping container guest house.

San Antonio architect Jim Poteet, AIA, has long admired shipping-container architecture. But he had never worked with a container himself until a client approached him about transforming one into a guest house for her downtown property. His experience with industrial buildings (including a renovated warehouse where the client lives) gave him and his staff a certain comfort level with the idea. “The way we did the project sums up the way we approach existing buildings,” Poteet says. “We did things that change it in subtle ways and make it work, but didn’t change so much that it loses its identity. It’s still a shipping container.”

The client sourced the blue-painted, Cor-ten steel container herself, while Poteet Architects provided both design and build services. The firm replaced one end of the structure with glass, and carved a large opening for sliding doors into the container’s long side. At night, a deck made of HVAC condenser pads basks in the glow of outdoor light fixtures crafted from painted tractor blades.

For a cooling effect, 4-foot-by-4-foot planters sit a few inches above the container’s roof, with vegetation chosen by landscape architect Jon Ahrens. Icynene insulation also helps keep temperatures down inside the building. Out back, an in-ground tank harvests rainwater to reuse for irrigation. “This was an opportunity to experiment with some sustainable strategies,” Poteet says.