U of H School of Architecture - SPACE Container Exhibit

September 11, 2009 - Today I headed over to my alma mater, the University of Houston, but not to the School of Business (class of '87 - Go Coogs), but to the School of Architecture.  I spoke this morning with Professor Tom Diehl, a Registered Architect and instructor who helped me out years ago with concepts on how best to utilize our land (we have 4 acres, but the property has an odd long and narrow shape).  In 2005, Tom had his class visit our studio, and walk the land.  They came back three weeks later with designs that were simply stunning.  An idea that one team had was to use shipping containers for a variety of applications (mostly retail).

We looked into it, and tried to do some research online, but the kind of information we were looking for was not easy to find. Sourcing the containers turned out to be pretty easy (we have the port of Houston just an hour from our studio).  We had been leasing our property to a fireworks vendor who came each year with a portable 20' fireworks stand.  When we asked him if he would pay more for if we built a 40' container, he jumped at the chance.  We decided to add a galvalume facade to the front and side of the building, along with a parapet wall at the top for signage.  We found a friend who is a welder that could fab out the doors, an electrician to do the interior, and June of in 2006 had the stand built and ready for season one.  It worked out wonderful for all, was great fun building it, and continues to serve its original purpose (although we recently modified the doors to meet the new fire codes).

I was hoping to meet with Tom and the Dean of the school (Dean Mashburn), but unfortunately, both were unavailable. Tom said the school had created a portable building unit from a Cargo Container which was part of a current installation he was involved in putting up earlier this week.  The name of the unit is SPACE, which is "...an up-cycled international shipping container paired with a flexible solar panel rack system. It is 100% self-sufficient, and has a zero impact on its site".  Planned uses include: Triage, Medical Office, Guard/Security Station, Parks and Rec. Space, Sales/Marketing Center, Educational Center, and Construction Field Office.

Next week I am going to try and meet with Tom and Dean Mashburn and line up some students that can help me work out the details of the new studio. If you would like to see the latest Sketchup file on the project click here.  To download the Sketchup viewer

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Category: Container Building, Photography,