What do you do when you want to build a home in a remote location where it’s hard to bring in building materials? Thinking inside the box, an inventive architect in Thailand decided to use the shipping containers those materials come in to create a gorgeous A-frame vacation getaway.
When approached to design a vacation rental in the rural Nakhon Nayok area two hours outside of Bangkok, architect Tung Jai Ork Baab had to get creative to work around the narrow village roads, which make it difficult for large construction vehicles to get through. On top of that, the region is plagued by a lack of skilled contractors and construction workers. For both of these reasons, utilizing a prefabricated structure seemed like the easiest and safest choice. Thus, the idea of the “Container Cabin” was born.
Since the project would be located in the low and marshy land of an empty rice paddy, Tung Jai Ork Baab started by having a small reservoir dug out, using the dirt to fashion enough high ground for a house and accompanying orchards. With the ferocity of Thailand’s rainy season, being built on a raised berm was essential for protection against potential flooding.
Employing the notion of an all-weather, indoor-outdoor space, the architect connected two 20-foot shipping containers to craft the main common room, adding full floor-to-ceiling windows on the ends to let in plenty of light, with the original loading doors providing shelter during storms.
An open-air courtyard connects the living room to the dining and pantry space, housed by yet another container. That gateway deck, with a second-story shipping container forming the roof, is intended to be the home’s main gathering space, thanks to the perpetually warm weather in the area. Chairs and cushions are scattered throughout the courtyard for lounging in the tropical temperatures, with a tire swing suspended from the ceiling for the enjoyment of little vacationers.
The top floor container comprises a private bedroom, with the tall A-frame creating balconies and alfresco lounge areas all around the sleeping quarters. The shape of the cabin was intentional: the sloped rooflines shade the entire residence, avoiding the problem of heat transfer to the metal containers. One section of the roof was replaced with a translucent material to let natural light into the middle deck. Steel plate louvers are built into the frame to deflect frequent rains but still allow light and wind to flow through the entire space for ventilation.
An outdoor cooking area bridges the gap between the A-frame and a detached container bedroom. That room connects to an above-ground pool encased in a deck space that seriously bumps up the rural getaway’s recreation game. And since the vacation home was designed with traveling families in mind, the front of the property also features a wooden playground and sandbox structure.
The interior spaces throughout were painted a fresh white for a clean and airy feel. The exterior got an earthy brown treatment, helping it to blend in with the natural environment.
This Container Cabin is a beautiful addition to the resourceful (sometimes questionable) architectural trend of using cheap and readily available shipping containers as housing accommodations when circumstances allow.