Dezeen Magazine

Gatehouse Road by FBM Architects

Shipping-container micro homes with green roofs planned for UK

Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects has obtained planning permission for a development of micro homes made from shipping containers with green roofs in Aylesbury, England.

Gatehouse Road is a low-cost housing scheme that is part of a series of regeneration plans for underused sites owned by the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust. Currently the site is occupied by garages.

Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects (FBM Architects) has designed a 26.2-square-metre home that can fit inside each container. The one-bedroom studios will be rented out as social housing or student accommodation.

According to the architecture studio recycled shipping containers were chosen for the project to keep costs low and allow off-site prefabrication, while re-using existing structures would have an environmental benefit.

Shipping container micro homes with green roofs designed by Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects

The containers will be arranged in a terrace formation, progressively stepped back from each other to create a private decked area at the front of each micro home. This arrangement also avoids a major sewer pipe running through the Gatehouse Road site.

Inside each brightly coloured container the micro homes are arranged in a linear fashion, with a living and kitchen area at the front, a separate bathroom, and a bedroom at the rear. Porches are placed at either end.

Insulation will be added to the walls, roofs and floors of the shipping containers, along with double-glazing at either end, to keep emissions and heating bills low.

Sedum roofs, a green roof system made from a blanket of pre-grown sedum plants, will top each container house. Grass and trees will be planted around the Gatehouse Road development, and secure bicycle parking and a communal unit with laundry facilities will be located on site.

Coloured tarmac and geometric paving around the development will mark the area's transformation from an under-used, "anti-social" area to a "home-zone", said the architecture studio.

FBM Architects was founded in 1991 by Simon Fraser, Angus Brown and Martin MacKenna. The practice previously used shipping containers for a pop-up cafe at Kingston University.

Their ready availability and inherently modular design makes shipping containers a popular choice for structures that need to be quick and cheap to assemble.

London is due to get the world's tallest shipping container building – a nine-storey office block designed by Patalab Architecture – and Dixon Jones recently proposed an events space for Edinburgh made from a pile of bright red containers.