DC's New Cheap Housing: Shipping Crates

An innovative project may boost the next trend

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 21, 2014 9:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – Off-campus housing isn’t known for being particularly innovative, but two real estate entrepreneurs are putting up housing near Catholic University made out of decidedly unusual materials: 8-by-40-foot steel shipping containers, reports the Washington Post. Each level hosts six containers and serves as its own apartment, with six bedrooms and bathrooms. The containers are insulated against sound and heat and boast the marine-grade plywood floors that served the boxes in their original missions on the high seas. The idea is the brainchild of Matthew Grace and Sean Joiner, both 31, who wanted alternatives for a rental house they purchased and razed in 2009. They hooked up with Kelly Davies (Grace’s fiancée) and her boss, architecture guru Travis Price.

Not everyone is pleased, and one local resident tells the Post that the new housing in the neighborhood means "I know I’ll have to leave." But the inventors say most of the crate apartments have already been snatched up because of the convenience to campus and lower rent (they’re not saying how much yet). And, as Joiner tells the Post, although these units may be affordable to build and maintain, they’re not skimping on aesthetics. "Would we live here? And would we want our sister to live here?" he asks. If this experiment works, the designers have their eye on taking their project to a larger scale, even a floating village on a barge in the Potomac.

Members of the media film the interior of a cargo container with a blueprint of a two-bedroom homestead in Detroit, resembling the container homes being built in DC.
Members of the media film the interior of a cargo container with a blueprint of a two-bedroom homestead in Detroit, resembling the container homes being built in DC.   (AP Photo/Detroit News, Daniel Mears)
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