Container Guest House 11 30 2011

Container Guest House [DAY 23] 11302011

Placement + Connection

Nov. 30 was an important milestone in the course of this project. On this day, all bits and pieces of this simple but elegant vessel converged on the site.

The crane was in position at noon, and shortly afterwards the second half of the container arrived.

Ropes were used to rotate and align containers to their correct positions. After both containers were set in place, John Andrews, the project welder, joined the footings of both containers to embedded steel plates.

The alignment and welding process took roughly 3 hours.





John Andrews, the welder, connecting a footing of the container to a previously installed 6×6 Dia hook.

Container Guest House 11 29 2011

Container Guest House [DAY 22] 11 21 2011

Removal of Forms + Exterior Treatment + Transportation

6 Days have passed since concrete was first confined in the wooden forms; Now, strong and free of formwork, these concrete footings are ready to carry the load of the shipping container.

Here are some pictures of the exterior surface treatment [sanding and buffing for the paint job] and the transportation process. Only half of the container was transported on this day. The other half is scheduled to be moved the following day.


Container Guest House 11 23 2011

Container Guest House [DAY 16] 11 23 2011

Placing of  Concrete + Installation of Hooks (10″x 10″)

Placements of concrete bases and steel plates with hooks were set to match the knuckles of the shipping container. The top of each plate was elevated 1/3 of an inch above the wooden form for welding purpose.

Container Guest House 11 23 2011

Division of Shipping Container

The original Shipping Container is an [45′] aged vessel covered with character and international stamps. After the container was divided, structural frames were added to the edges of the bifurcation and to the bottom beams to prevent twists and shifts. Here are some pictures showing the raw condition of the container and the welding process of the steel frame.


Container Guest House 11 21 2011


Container Guest House [DAY 14] 11 21 2011

Wooden Forms

Two weeks had passed since Stephen first put his pen to paper. The wooden tower forms index the earth marking the location of the concrete foundations. Re-bar are positioned within each form to strengthen and reinforce the foundation. meanwhile, at the warehouse, the containers are being modified…











Container Guest House 11 10 2011


Container Guest House [DAY 03] 11 10 2011

Container Delivery

Three days had passed since the client came to Stephen looking for a quick solution to a perennial problem; the storage of guests! Container shopping is fun and after looking at a range of options at the yard, the client ended up purchasing a 45 footer. This will make for some great design opportunities because the extra 2.5 feet on each end can easily cantilever off the foundations without extra steel modifications. The container was delivered to an industrial warehouse yard so that the preliminary modifications can be made off-site. The container will be cut in half and reinforced here. Then we will haul the halves to the site on the back of a car-carrier courtesy of a local towing company.


Music in Architecture / Architecture in Music Competition Entry

ResonanceBox Performance Space

MWBa entered a design competition in the summer of 2011 sponsored by the University of Texas at Austin. The idea of the competition was to explore the dialogue between music in architecture by designing a temporary installation that would also serve as a performance space.  Check out our entry and listen to the composition here.

A New Years Message to Gainesville From Tom 12 29 2011

I want to thank the City of Gainesville.

Especially the City Commissioners and Building Dept under the good leadership of Doug Murdock. This innovative house needed an innovative permit process and the City came through. That is one of the important hurdles we had to overcome.

With Stephen Bender’s design and Greg Wayland’s engineering, with Ben Bressack as the contractor, and a team of other amazing people like welder John Andrews, we had a great team. It built a wonderful house.

This house is designed to have a positive ecological foot print by using recycled materials and having a solar system that was made in the great USA. The extra steel for supports was made in the USA. All appliances are Energy Star or better. The new hot water system is the most environmentally friendly Gas system made. This gas system is the first one to have been installed in the southeastern USA.

I am making more electricity than I am using through the first month. This during the shortest days of the year; December. The rest of the year should be better. This house is hurricane proof. Maybe tornado proof but I don’t want to test that! No termite will bring this house down. All this cost less than a conventional home the same size. If Americans used these concepts when building homes, this nation could end its foreign oil dependency and it could transform the economy very quickly. If Americans built houses like this each would make a great contribution to solving environmental problems and lessening the impact buildings have on climate change.

I built this house to give people the idea that we can all help solve our biggest problems by changing the way we think about our most important physical investment, our homes. I have repaired my carbon footprint problem and I am saving money over the life of my home. Who doesn’t want to save money?

Have a great end of the year! Thanks Gainesville!

Happy New Year!

A Long Awaited Progress Post – Date Range 09 15 2011 thru 11 30 2011

This post is very late. I have excuses, but I won’t bore you with them. Instead I will apologize for not getting these images up as the action was occurring.

Needless to say, a lot has happened in the last three months. Solar structures and solar panels have been installed, insulation and interior wall finishes are installed, roofing is installed and most importantly, Tom has achieved his Certificate of Occupancy meaning that his building permit is officially closed out! Read on, this is a long one…

09 15 2011 Solar Tree Construction

The structures I designed for Tom’s solar array are going up.


09 20 2011 Insulating Between Floors

Here is a pic of the floor insulation being installed. Tom cut strips of container floor out along each side and filled the space between roof/floor of stacked containers with cellulose (recycled paper) insulation. Also, Tom was able to get a couple of rolls of chain link fence that was being taken down on the rails to trails at the end of the block. We will reuse the fence on the green wall.


09 20 2011 Green Wall Frame

Tom’s green wall will be a prototype; built out of recycled material (chain link fence), and outfitted with micro pumps fed from a rainwater harvest cistern. There will be a sensible variety of plants; edibles within hands reach, colorful flowering above, and airophytes toward the top. Pretty much what Tom always envisioned. The consultant has even mentioned using wind powered pumps for the cistern. Very cool.

Tom says, “One of the main reasons I pumped all my money into this was to push the boundaries and give people environmental options like this green wall.” All the best – Tom


09 20 2011 Work Around the Site

some pics of the new sidewalk…
solar powered driveway gate…
recycled steel hand rail…
some interior doors…
solar tree and the priming…
mini split AC/heaters on wall…
The energy rating stickers on the minis 23seer…
the vision triangle concrete border…


10 27 2011 Solar Is Up

The solar panels are up and will be making power soon. I have inserted some of the digital model images for fun…


11 11 2011 Roof System Preparation

Here are some pics showing how Tom epoxied the roof. He made sure all the welds were clean and then sealed the roof using a 100% solids two-part epoxy. Then he will use Super Therm to cover the entire living area of the roof.


11 11 2011 Elastomeric Application (Super Therm)

All white with a few leaves that fell. I might need to figure out some kind of grate system since I noticed shoes will dirty it up


11 30 2011 Solar Power

Tom is happy to announce that the solar system is now on. He has passed all building department final inspections on the container house. There are still a few details to finish; flooring, LEED inspections and blower door test, painting the exterior, landscaping, etc.

Fox Residence Solar Structures 09 14 2011

Construction has begun on the structures that support the solar panel installation. These inverted steel pyramids tree like elements hold twelve panels each for a total array of 8kw. At thirty feet off the ground in this neighborhood you are at the point in the oaks where branching begins. These structures are designed to evoke this branching.