“Living Green” has gone vogue and so has finding new creative “out of the box” ways to do so.
Next month, the forward thinking Phoenix-based development firm of UpCycle Living, led by Ashton Wolfswinkel and Jason Anderson, will break ground on a cutting-edge residential community known as Switzer Terrace in the beautifully forested mountain top city of Flagstaff, Ari., utilizing stacked shipping containers.
Recent years have seen eco-friendly developers look for new ways to promote sustainable living, and this new form of housing has emerged as a phenomenal way to reuse these virtual “LEGO-blocks” as modern sustainable modular homes.
Shipping containers were invented more than 50 years ago, and are certainly recognized as the basic unit in our global distribution network of products. Every commodity imaginable is shipped throughout the world from toys from China, textiles from India, grain from America, and cars from Germany. Yet, these visionary developers, architects and green designers, such as Upcycle Living and green living enthusiasts, are increasingly turning to these strong, cheap boxes as source building blocks to create some amazing modern architectural wonders.
According to the Upcycle Living’s architects, the modified containers are “nearly indestructible,” as well as resistant to mold, fire, and termites. The shipping containers can be readily modified with a range of creature comforts and can be connected and stacked to create modular, efficient spaces for a fraction of the cost, labor and resources of more conventional materials. Some of the recent green living uses include disaster relief shelters to luxury condos, vacation homes, and off-the-grid adventurers.
With its modern lines and appealing spaces, the containers turn heads. Upcycle Living’s forested Switzer Terrace community boasts individual 6,000-square-foot lots. One such model includes a two bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, 1,200 square foot spacious modern home with a two-car garage. This luxury mountainside showpiece is built from four prefabricated, recycled steel shipping containers, along with some traditional building materials. Seventy percent of the building will be efficiently assembled in a shop, saving time, money and resources.
One such configuration includes a home perched on a hillside lot, with the four containers on top of a two-car garage. Alternatively, the unit could be configured on a level lot with the garage along the side of the home.
On the inside, the home also demonstrates the importance of a livable floor plan and a well-orchestrated flow of space. On the ground floor, this open-plan module contains the living room, dining area and kitchen — and can be entirely open to the outside by incorporating vast windows or enclosed. Classic modern furniture provides comfort and style without taking over the room. The open kitchen, with its gleaming stainless steel appliances, is ideally suited to the love of entertaining the curious green living friends and family. Upstairs, private spaces are more compartmentalized. The master bedroom at one end of the unit could look out onto a grove of trees (and will eventually have its own private deck). The simple lines of the office area at the opposite end are highly conducive to concentration. Overall, this Upcyle Living home is a striking example of what can be achieved with a well-thought-out modular system of construction and design that focuses on sustainable living.
Although it is doubtful this new residential community and product will rebound the Arizona housing market, Upcycle Living has clearly taken a giant leap forward in introducing an innovative housing product whose time has come. However, only time will tell whether progressive Flagstaff homebuyers will catch the vision of this truly “out of the box” green living alternative.