Time-lapse of construction of shipping-container office-building

Jay sez, "My company built an office building out of shipping containers in Providence, RI. It's called the Box Office, it's energy efficient, it upcycles 32 shipping containers, and will create incubator office/studio space in a neighborhood that needs it."

BOX OFFICE october09.mov (Thanks, Jay!)

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  1. Woot! My daily commute on BB!

    That area is a bit run down, and I’ve been curious as to what they were doing with shipping containers there.

    Prior to this new development there appeared to be a weird standalone loading dock there. I drove by when they were ripping that down too :)

  2. have you ever priced out any of those container buildings? Riiiiiiiidiculously expensive square foot to sqaure foot compared to, say, stick frame… what a joke.

    1. @ #2: I priced up a design of a new zealand site for a beach home on a concrete plinth. 80m2, wooden terrace, wood finish, car port underneath etc. materials all in would have been about €40,000. time to construct it is way faster than stick frame, once the foundation concrete is done you can have your steel box frame done in a day. depending on where you put an 80m2 home it’s value (in italy where i am or in england where i’m from) would be at least three times the material cost. used refridgerated containers at 12m x 2.8m are about €1500 here…

  3. That looks really cool, but I hope they’ve added a ton of insulation. Otherwise it’s going to be pretty far from “energy efficient!”

  4. This is an amazing idea to save money and recycle tons of steel that would go wasted.

    My only problem with this is that it looks really ugly. They could have at least painted it. Maybe what’s missing is to develop a way to coat paint inside and out. If it was more attractive it would be more widely accepted.

    I also wonder how this highly heat conductive material withstand New England’s weather. It would be counter intuitive if the heat and energy bill is prohibitively high.

  5. Project website: http://boxoffice460.com/

    To address #2, I think the “green” angle is interesting. From the site: “This project will be a model of a small, green (energy-efficient, sustainable) building, using 25% less energy than a conventional new office building. The main goal of the design team was to engineer a well-insulated building, utilizing high performing windows and implement the most efficient HVAC system feasible for the project.”

  6. The finished product is much more impressive than how it looks at the end of the video. Check out BoxOffice460.com for the fully fleshed out building.

  7. This is an amazing idea to save money and recycle tons of steel that would go wasted.

    Scrap steel is never wasted these days, it’s too valuable. The completed building at the end is an eyesore. Are they planning on sheathing it with something or at least painting it?

  8. Cool. How many days did it actually take? It’s hard to tell with the video, since some days seem to be longer than others. Also, I assume that more work went into building, insulating and outfitting the building with utilities after the video ended.

    Also, are there real photos of the finished product? As far as I can tell, the “South Elevation” picture on http://boxoffice460.com looks to be a digitally-created architect’s rendering. The “East Elevation” picture could be real, but it looks like a computer rendering as well.

    1. It’s not completed yet, it will be done in March. You are right, the pictures you see are renderings.

  9. I don’t think office and studio space is sorely needed in a city full of abandoned factories and warehouse buildings.

  10. I sincerely hope that Lightning Bolt will be relocating their Fort Thunder studio to this building.

  11. I’ve watched this go up, it’s not finished yet but should look better once it’s painted.

    Great idea, but not for Providence or probably many places in North America. Right behind the construction are at least three empty office/factory/warehouse buildings. We need to convert and use existing buildings not make new ones regardless of what their made of.

  12. I would rather base my business out of a seedy hotel.

    Those boxes are pretty much the worst place to work.

    1. The interior is an open floor plan which will be roughed out to look no different than any other office space, including drywall and wood flooring. Plus the fact that it’s a super efficient building, it’s far from being a terrible place to work.

  13. If its cheaper than normal building techniques, we should use it to make cheap apartments for lower income people.

  14. I can’t wait until they tear this down to build some more upscale, swanky lofts and condos like nearly every other parcel of artistic or historic value in Providence.

  15. Fantastic, now all they need to do is pick it up,
    load it on a container ship and deliver it to Somalia.
    It would make a fitting HQ for those pirates over there!

  16. If the wolf were to huff and puff, could he blow it over? More importantly, after construction is done, could you remove a few bolts and move the entire building to another location in a single day? Is the a market for a semi-portable building?

  17. Steel just isn’t a great material for making houses/ buildings. maybe if you can cut out the walls and have more internal space.

    It would be wonderful if we could find a way to start mass producing affordable housing units that could be easily shipped oversees to improve the conditions of those living in slums. Sadly I don’t think anyone is funding that great experiment quite yet.

    Love the experiment. Hope it works well.

  18. Redshirt77 – had you looked at any of the links provided at the end of the post you would be less glum about the use of steel or the progress of the ‘experiments’. They’re provided there for a reason, usually to help provide you the option of making an informed comment.

    1. Gee thanks Mdh.

      I wasn’t aware the Internets was now requiring informed commenting.

      Do any one of those links describe a solution to long thin, less than ideal room shapes?

      I also think that it is somewhat impractical because steel is actually not best used as walls because it has so much value elsewhere in cars, building skeletons, and roofs. Also that so many end up sitting in American ports where we have so much housing stock already.

      1. Redshirt –

        I wasn’t aware the Internets was now requiring informed commenting.

        Require? no. Deserve? yes.

        I also think that it is somewhat impractical because steel is actually not best used as walls because it has so much value elsewhere in cars, building skeletons, and roofs.

        I’m pretty sure this is about what we do AFTER we’ve already decided what to use the steel for, and after that original use was obviated. This (and the other links too) is about recycling and reuse using found materials to provide shelter, not about design from scratch to meet your ideal room shape.

        Also that so many end up sitting in American ports where we have so much housing stock already.

        I had no idea there were no shipping containers in foriegn ports where housing stock might be an issue. I just had no idea.

  19. Wow, so hideous! Will provide excellent inspirational material for some future ‘Throbbing Gristle’-esque industrial band.

  20. Unless this is the new headquarters for the Association of Deaf Persons, it’s going to be hell sitting in an echo chamber next to train tracks and a highway.

    1. I’m on the site 5 days a week, it’s not loud by any means. especially inside the building. trains aren’t moving quick enough there to make any noise.

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