Gallery: Containers of Hope: Cool Costa Rican Shipping Container House ...

Guess how much this house cost? $US 40,000. Seriously. Containers of Hope is the latest project by Benjamin Garcia Saxe and is composed of two 40' shipping containers set together with a raised mid section and clerestory windows. The discarded shipping container
Guess how much this house cost? $US 40,000. Seriously. Containers of Hope is the latest project by Benjamin Garcia Saxe and is composed of two 40' shipping containers set together with a raised mid section and clerestory windows. The discarded shipping container home was built for a couple who wanted to live debt free on their property outside of San Jose, Costa Rica. A simple skewed arrangement of the containers allows a view of the rising and setting sun and is perfect for cooling via natural ventilation.

You might remember Saxe as the architect who built his mother this gorgeous bamboo retreat with a moon skylight. Although based in London, Saxe spends a lot of time in Central America and he helped design this spectacularly simple, yet luxurious container home for their property outside of San Jose. Gabriela Calvo and Marco Peralta wanted to live on their property, spend time with their horses and enjoy the natural landscape, but not go into debt building the home of their dreams. By utilizing recycled shipping containers and doing some of the work themselves, they were able to keep the ultimate cost of the home down to $40,000, which is inexpensive for many parts of the world.

Two 40′ containers were trucked in and installed on pier foundations slightly set apart to create a wider cross section. The containers were pulled apart to create larger window sections and great views of both the east and the west. Large holes were cut from the sides to install glass and aluminum framed windows. Scraps taken from the sides of the container were used as roofing on the raised center and the walls were insulated with industrial grade insulation. New wood floors were installed over the containers and the newly created middle section. The raised center provides natural daylighting and a wind tower effect encouraging natural ventilation, which works so well that they never have to turn on their AC.

As Saxe wrote to us, “I believe that the power of design comes from inspiring others with our work to look at alternate and creative  solutions for dwellings in order to provide and gift them with a greater financial freedom.” The project is already gaining attention for its use of recycled materials, simple, yet clear and efficient design as well as its affordability.

+ Benjamin Garcia Saxe

Images ©Benjamin Garcia Saxe


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  1. losverdes9914 October 8, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    very interested in learning more about your experience, also looking do do this is Ostional area. we are at step one, and would be interested in your prints/contract help, etc..

  2. sukram036 September 8, 2012 at 9:26 am

    He does offer blue prints and materials used for 975 dollars.

  3. john yan August 6, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    anyone knows what’s the third container for? there is one just on the left of the building,but no details

  4. gonetodenver July 24, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Does Mr. Saxe offer detailed blueprints for this design, I want to build a container home, but need architectural blueprints to help get approval and permits thru the county restrictions. Also custom designed and blueprints are out of the question, most container homes professional designed are $200 pr sq. ft. I have looked at this style for many years and this by far is the best design I have ever seen, it is so simple, yet elegant, and maximizes the space!

  5. Talcarey January 22, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I have been searching the web on container houses, this one is the best i have seen so far ,it is absolutely beautiful.

  6. gvlutz August 17, 2011 at 1:33 am

    I love almost everything you public.

  7. jaxx33 August 5, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    My cousin in Costa Rica says homes around San Jose may be in the mountains where it’s cooler, so some a/c may be necessary down on the beach, but it’s best container design I’ve ever seen. Two other tricks might be to use the doorway cutouts as tilt-out overhangs or decks so they could be locked back in place for security, and also to ventilate the floor in clerestory section to suck up shaded air beneath structure into the “chimney”. Congratulations to Mr Saxe on beautiful design.

  8. MichaelSelf July 27, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    I want to build a shipping container home in Los Angeles County within the next 3 years. Anyone else who is building or has built one, I’d love to talk to you.

  9. costa rica spa June 20, 2011 at 6:15 am

    Wow that is something creative. It is simple yet elegant. This is the best way to utilize scrap & waste. No doubt, very soon these houses unique houses will be in great demand.

  10. turnstiles June 13, 2011 at 1:57 am

    Fantastic!! I have been researching container housing for the past year as preparation for my own build and this is probably the best example I’ve yet seen. Simple, bright and airy and an effective use of space with climate considerations taken into account. I plan to use 4 containers, do all (permissible) work myself and was looking at about a $60,000 budget. Seeing this example makes me confident I can achieve my house on budget and will silence my detractors!!

  11. wmaes47 June 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    They would need to stay 24/7 at the property in Costa Rica. there are to many opportunists and to much glass to ever this this place.

  12. mkeeler June 11, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    do they not worry about security with no bars?

  13. LANENA June 10, 2011 at 3:45 pm


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