Shipping container house for the Philippines or anywhere else in the Tropics

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I came across this shipping container house which is in Costa Rica. Its designed and built by a company called Bamboo Groves and its given me some great ideas on the construction of our new house when we eventually get round to doing our own. The design is worked round the Tropical climate of Costa Rica which pretty much has the same problems as we have here in the Philippines. The designs are based on cooling rather than heating and primarily looks at how to use natural ventilation and cooling.

Bamboo Groves uses intermodal steel building units (ISBUs) which we would call in the UK modular building. They are insulated shipping containers that make up the framework of the house then Guadua Bamboo which is a fast growing bamboo and easy to get hold of in Costa Rica as its grown locally. they then used this for the framework of the roof beams they do several designs and sizes. But the one in the photos is something that got my brain working on the fact it can be done in phases. As well as very easy to construct which will save on labour time as most of the work is “finishing” rather than things like hollow blocks which are labour intensive.

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The use of high ventilated roofs spanning across the containers offers natural cooling as well as a very open kitchen and sitting area which is something I really like about the design. The design gives a real feeling of space and a clean functional home.

imageThe main thing I have learned over time here in the Philippines though if your not happy “do it yourself” because when things go wrong people will generally say “but this is the Philippines not the UK”. Which is true and to be honest I think a lot of the problems are caused by a skilled labour shortage. Yes you can get the plumber,painter,carpenter etc. but generally their skill base locally is limited and quality of work is sub-standard. Doesn’t mean you can’t find good workers just that the time and effort involved its difficult and if they are that good no doubt they will be following the rest of the skilled market and become an OFW. I have added another spacious clean design below as well as a bit of food for thought.image

8 comments for “Shipping container house for the Philippines or anywhere else in the Tropics

  1. Anonymous
    November 2, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    WOW! Now you’re talking! These are actually shipping containers?? Set up like these, I would not mind living in one! I liked the 2 story design, and I was just thinking with that flat roof, you could even put solar panels for water heating. Well, I know some would say you don’t need water heating in PI, but I do. Which comes to mind, are solar heating panels available there? I am thinking maybe not, because there won’t be much demand for those, which is a shame because with the tropical weather, one won’t really need a lot of hot water anyway, just for evening showers and dishwashing. And costs wise, how much would these compare to building a brick structure of similar size? I assumed you have done some costings? I’m just a bit wary about the bamboo frames though. My province is termite country, so will probably need to termite proof this with some kind of paint. I know bamboos are plentiful everywhere in PI, but it’s the humbug of having to renovate every 10 years or so because the termites had eaten the frames! But it certainly is a good concept. I will PM you.

    • Tropicalpenpals
      November 2, 2010 at 4:35 pm

      water heaters are available :- http://cebuexpat.com/solar-water-heater-cebu-philippines/ (this is the best price I have seen and will be buying one after the next apartment goes up so can tell you if its effective).

      Termites are a bit issue and there has to be some bamboos that aren’t affected by the little critters also it doesn’t have to be bamboo frame the main reason would be to reduce costs on construction hardwoods would do the job just as well but obviously the price would be much higher.

  2. Philip Patrick
    November 2, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    I am not sure why, but i can not see any pictures on this site.. Only the text.. Is that my browser or what. I noticed it on some other posts also..

    • Tropicalpenpals
      November 2, 2010 at 5:46 pm

      just fixed it had CSprites converting photos into sprites to speed up load time but its actually timing out instead.. so should load now although may be a little slow due to photo sizes.

  3. TropicalPenpals
    November 2, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    [New Post] Shipping container house for the Philippines or anywhere else in the Tropics .

  4. TropicalPenpals
    November 2, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    [New Post] Shipping container house for the Philippines or anywhere else in the Tropics .

  5. TropicalPenpals
    November 2, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    [New Post] Shipping container house for the Philippines or anywhere else in the Tropics .

  6. TropicalPenpals
    November 2, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    [New Post] Shipping container house for the Philippines or anywhere else in the Tropics .