Unpack is the first of a series of small, sustainable houses requested by a client who has a desire to rent these houses out in Cooroy to exemplify the ability to live in well-designed smaller houses.
In the current climate there is an interesting juxtaposition of what people want from their homes. They want a place that is their own interpretation of a life well lived and sometimes this can threaten to derail the build before it begins. With the cost of purchasing land and construction rising above regular incomes, people opt to build a larger house as it is seen as a major investment with returns. With everyone having a real estate agent as a friend this advice can lead to a single child family building a 5-bedroom house. The irony is that all the elements that make a home worth more on the estate agents’ calculator can make the quality of the home suffer. While UNPACK is not a cheaper alternate to a framed build, and the usage is not conducive to a family home – the client sees value in the Usage of existing elements to reduce the footprint of building
UNPACK uses a side opening 20ft shipping container to allow for openings that will not require structure to be introduced into the container. This is a major flaw in the design of many Container Houses, as any cutting of the structural skin can cause the box to twist and if there are many the reason to still use a container is redundant.
The main concern with the container is the confined height of the unit. The entire roof has been removed to allow for a light roof structure to soar above with clerestory windows adding height to the space.
The main directive with the container was to not hide the material and original purpose with an external cladding, which in Queensland is desirable to not turn the house into an oven. Very generous overhanging eaves were designed to shade the walls and operable walls were used as shading devices to the west in summer. A bathroom module also acts as a separation element that can absorb excess heat to the west.
The plans of a shipping container house can make the bed trapped into one end. Using one of the doors we created an extruding pod to give the bed some clearance and separation from the kitchen area.
We look forward to the response from people who use this space as a retreat in the Noosa hinterland and their thoughts on the appropriateness of the architecture in a bush setting