Levy Container Residence – Final Round Schematics

6b2 This combination of the biaxial plan and the "T" plan makes outdoor deck space accessible for a large living room. The ground container is set to provide a large platform across the west end of the cabin; the end with the living room. It also provides some individuated exterior spaces for the private areas. It creates two separate smaller outdoor spaces adjacent to interior uses. The one adjacent to the Master Bath is an outdoor shower. The one adjacent to the Office/Exercise and the Master Bedroom is a deck. This deck is linked by a bridge to the summer kitchen and then the more public west facing porch/deck. In addition, this version features an internal stair connecting it with the guest suite in the container below. Surrounding the stair are bookshelves and storage, a library.    

Levy Container Residence – Round Two Schematics

We've begun using the spaces beyond the container walls for external program as we continue to tie the project into the site. Cabin+03p-overview This is the same container configuration of the previous round, with the plan flipped and a porch extended around the western three sides. The projecting container breaks the continuous wrap of the porch, so you end up with two larger porches. This defeats the exterior connection “in the round”, but it results in two distinct spaces, and variety is the spice of life.   32b The ground container sits transverse under the middle of the cabin. The cross shaped configuration creates a peripheral approach to relationship to use and site. The containers intersect at the public area of the cabin. This creates two separate outdoor platforms adjacent to interior uses. In addition, a porch deck wraps the exterior of the north, west and south sides connecting the platforms. Portions of the porch may be screened in to create variety of usefulness and variety of experience.  

Levy Container Residence – Round One Schematics

  Model Orientation In the site drawing above, we've strategically placed a proto-plan using our site map and what we know of wind conditions. Designing with these conditions in mind allows us to make a home which is thermoregulated by its natural surroundings. We are able to use natural shading and average wind conditions during the warm seasons to our advantage. In addition to this, we also consider maximizing views and good light while minimizing heat gain. PR2_protoplan

Wind Compasses

In the plan and diagrams above, you can see how we've adjusted the orientation of the containers to allow natural airflow through them during the warmest months. The plan also maximizes the views across the site and provides buffers from distant neighbors.


One of the advantages to working with shipping containers is the standardized dimensions of each unit. While having to work within specific dimensions may seem restrictive design, we find inspiration in the opportunities. Modularity gives us a rhythm of dimensioning to work with as well as a kit of parts which work together in different configurations. But the greater opportunity is what we can design in to juxtapose the inherent qualities of the module so that the result is not simply a stack of containers dropped onto earth, but architecture which uses juxtaposing ideas which bring out the best qualities of the home itself, but also one that breaks its own mold to become part of the landscape. One opportunity we can take advantage of, for example, is the space between containers. In the plan above, you can see how containers which shift and pull apart at a slight rotation can result in an interesting circulation space, leaving the container themselves to house living spaces. The connecting space can then become something unique in its own right. Further explorations come through various iterations and modifications of this plan and each is tested in the site.

Three versions are placed in the wind simulator in summer and winter.

Levy Container Residence – Ecositing

This our next shipping container home and has been in the works since March 2013. With shipping containers soon on the way, it won't be long before it officially makes itself a home a beautiful plot of Florida landscape in Levy County, and what a site it is. Inhabiting The Xeric Ridge This site is part of a rapidly disappearing Florida landscape; the Florida Scrub. It is home to many rapidly disappearing species of plant and animal. The key to successfully inhabiting a site like this is the direction of the client, the ability of the architect and the knowledge of a team of people. Through many iterations of research and design, we hypothesize and test a way of living in this landscape. It is exciting. Here are some core ideas we kept in mind as we designed: • Recognize and identify the temporal aspects of site, including those associated with climate, cyclical seasonal changes, solar movements, wind, etc. Understand the relationships that temporal changes have on physical aspects of the site. • Recognize the phenomenal, physiological, and psychological aspects of site, and the things that we, as humans, use to shape and understand a place through direct human perception. • Shape ideas into/through “buildings” with architectural definition, including structure, heating/cooling/ventilation, and enclosure. Consider and deploy materiality in response to the architectural motivators. • Recognize the relationships between natural resources, land use, material decisions, and human occupation. • Evaluate decisions and strategies for optimizing, conserving, and/or reusing natural and built resources to provide healthful environments for occupants/users and reduce the environmental impacts of building construction and operations on future generations. • Understand the energy implications of decisions made during the design process, and develop proposals that reduce energy use through passive and bioclimatic design strategies. How do we take these ideas into design? First, our site analysis. In addition to visiting the site numerous times at different times of day and as seasons change, we engage digital tools to help us create analytical imagery and modeling.

Site 1With a little know how, we can use Photoshop as a site an analysis tool. How can this be? Well, the first thing we need to know is that most aerial imagery is shot during winter months when deciduous trees have dropped their leaves, so anything that is still green in the aerial is either coniferous, evergreen or in temperate climates like Florida, a deciduous tree that stays green all year such as a live oak. By adjusting the color histogram of the aerial we can tune up the difference between the colors of the ground and vegetation resulting in a more legible plant map. The brightest greens are pines, the darker greens are the oaks and the blue-greens are the “Florida rosemary”. The red areas are “dead” things, fallen leaves, pine needles and dormant grasses.

Site 3

 Now we can utilize this analysis to make a tree and vegetation survey for design use. There are patterns visible in the drawing that locate the habitat differences that can be experienced in the site.

Site 4

Using beta software from Autodesk, we imported a digital model and ran it through in a wind simulator using annual climate data. This image actually shows a 3D representation of wind speed over the land that can be adjusted to time of day and time of year. We can include affects and obstacles such as topography and vegetation to understand how these impact our siting of the residence to maximize natural ventilation.

Next Post: We use this information to site our proto plan and evaluate the impacts of our orientation on both the site and our construction.  

Fox Res LEED Platinum Certification is Official 12 07 2012

I am (very) late in posting this. It has been a busy season. On December 7 2012 I received the email from the USGBC indicating our Platinum status. What a relief!

Project #: 10186 Dear Stephen Bender, USGBC is extremely pleased to approve the certification of the LEED home at 612 SW 5th Terrace, Gainesville, FL, USA built by Tom Fox & Ben Bressack, and supported by the LEED for Homes Provider, Florida Solar Energy Center. This project received a "LEED Platinum" rating. Congratulations!
Achieving LEED certification is fairly straightforward but it requires planning, execution and follow up. I need to thank the members of our team who contributed toward the success of this certification. Thanks go first to Tom for having the desire to do something different and share it with the world, and the tenacity it required to keep going. It is, after all, for the betterment of the world that he went through all this! He'll be sharing for a long time. It is a very generous project. Thank you Tom. Thanks go to my design team engineer Greg Wayland. Thanks to the builders. The project would have been very different were it not for Ben Bressack, Building Contractor and John Andrews, welder, who led the container efforts. Thanks also to Jim Kesl, Jim White and Jeremy Brown for a can-do anything attitude. Thanks to the City of Gainesville, Building Department, under the leadership of Building Official Doug Murdock and Inspector Tom Panico, for being a true partner in the building process; for finding solutions rather than problems. Thanks for the support of Planning and Development Director Erik Bredfeldt and Planning Manager Ralph Hilliard. Thank you to Jennifer Langford, AIA, CNU, PA and the USGBC Heart of Florida Chapter for sponsoring and coordinating a few of our public tours. Finally, and not least, thanks to our green team, led by Mary Alford, PE, LEED AP, for their ideas, suggestions, tracking and accountability. Helping along the way were Mike Amish (now with Sustainable UF), Tricia Kyzar, Theresa Spurling-Wood. If you are interested to see what it takes, or maybe go after it yourself, see the information visit the USGB site, LEED for Homes!

Fox Container Residence on First Coast News

fox-shipping-container-home-first-coast-news-03 Tom's shipping container home is in the news again! Check out the coverage at http://firstcoastnews.com.


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Fox Residence Open House 02 25 2012

Fox Residence Open House 02 25 2012

Despite the harsh cold of winter morning, the open house was a success. Over 500 + Gainesville residences came to support the container house. The Open House started strong with guided tours by the architect and owner. Tours were short but elaborate, roughly 20 minutes each. Visitors were informed of spatial programmings and sustainable design concepts of the project. With minimal restrictions [safety purposes], visitors were free to explore independently within the three story structure. The itinerary of tours ended on the roof top deck with visitors gazing over downtown Gainesville wondering what future has in store for container constructions. Here are some pictures from the Open House.


Container Guest House [DAY 30] 12 07 2011

Container Guest House [DAY 30] 12 07 2011

Installation of Glass Door Railing + Closure of Roof Top

The deadline is rapidly approaching. Every one is passionately rushing to complete their tasks.Installation of glass door railings were effortless. Due to slight offsets of containers' roof beams a narrow opening was left between the units. To abide the harsh rain and storm of Florida, a SAS [Styrene Butadiene Styrene] modified roofing system was installed to resist water penetration. Here are some pictures of the installation process.