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Re: House utilizing shipping containers for lateral system

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I have never done actual design with them, but I have done a fair amount of
research. This website is a good jumping off point and primer.


The containers are very strong in gravity and lateral- when intact, and
when stacked on top of each other. This is what they are designed for,
which is why they can stack them fully loaded 6+ containers high on ships.
But once you start rotating them and cutting holes in them, you will have
to reinforce them. You will see right away once you look at the drawings.

Good luck! I hope to work with them one day. I think they have a lot of
potential for the right type of structures. But I do not think they should
be forced into just any architectural design, because they have a lot of
limitations due to their rectangular geometry.

Andrew Kester, PE

On Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 1:03 AM, Alexander (Sasha) Itsekson <
sasha(--nospam--at)> wrote:

> Hi,
> I got a request for proposal for a two story house structural design
> utilizing stacked shipping containers comprizing the lateral resisting
> system as well as a partial gravity supports. This is my first experience
> even though I know that it has been routinely used across the country in
> the last 10 years.
> I am looking for examples of how to approach this as the containers have
> multiple openings both longitudinally (as long as 12ft) and cutting off 
> the end walls.  I imagine that the structural framing members vary 
> depending on the manufacturer.  In wonder what should I reasonably ask 
> the architect as to the information pertaining to containers (8' x 8' x 
> 40'long). Member size,  material properties,  wall sheet materials,  etc? 
> What am i missing?
> How should I go about the analysis?  I guess even with openings 
> tesenboxes are pretty rigid but how do I detemine their stiffness to show 
> that plywood diaphragms are flexible (or not)?  Seems like a normal FEM 
> analysis is in order.  Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

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