Cargo Shipping Containers are an International Salvage Resource
When we think of recycling in association with the construction industry, we generally focus on construction and demolition waste materials. Recycled content has become popular for certain building and finish materials, as well. But the Sienna Architecture Company is experimenting with recycling on a different scale for their project for the Portland Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. The sorority, an organization of two hundred and fifty college-educated women who are committed to public service, is expanding its June Key Delta House in North Portland.
In 1993, the sorority purchased an abandoned service station and, using volunteer labor, made it into a functional gathering space. Expanding the building will create additional meeting rooms, as well as areas for after school programs and daytime programming for senior citizens. The community center will serve as a demonstration project, using 50-70% recycled materials. In addition to using salvaged and recycled materials obtained from companies and businesses, the building will incorporate surplus metal cargo shipping containers into its structure. The Portland Office of Sustainable Development explains, “Once products are shipped across the ocean, the steel containers that keep materials safe are usually left behind at the port to be recycled or reused for other applications.” And according to literature made available from the sorority, “Metal cargo shipping containers are an international salvage source that can be used for environmentally sensible building materials.”
Using cargo containers to make habitable structures is a process being refined by the company HyBrid in Seattle, Washington, who coined the term “cargotecture”. (For articles on HyBrid’s cargo container architecture, see “Cargotecture Finds Home in Northeast Portland” from the Portland Daily Journal of Commerce, and “Seattle Architects Making Homes From Cargo Containers” on the weblog Citizen Rain. The weblog Spluch has photographs of a museum project by architect Shigeru Ban that used stacked 152 cargo containers to create a moveable exhibit space.)
For the June Key Delta House, Sienna will combine several containers, and make them into a permanent structure. Since the project is registered with the Living Building Challenge, it will be sustainable in other ways, as well: it will incorporate a water recycling system and an innovative heating and cooling system; natural daylighting will light the space; and landscaping will utilize permeable paving and native plants.
Construction is scheduled to begin in August, with an intended completion date of December 2008. Project updates can be viewed on the Portland Office of Sustainable Development website.
Image Credit: Parsons PR
For more articles on recycled materials, see:
- Low Impact Living: Green Your Kitchen on Green Building Elements
- Green Kitchens on a Budget on Green Building Elements
- Green Counter Culture on Green Building Elements