Modular Building Design: Tempohousing

Shipping containers have gone from the decks of ships to the ground, with the mobility and purpose to become homes. They have been re-purposed with a design called intermodal units (ISBU’s), which provide ease in the application of the containers to become places of residence.

Modular Design

Conducted by a Netherlands-based company named Tempohousing, the ISBU’s are  standard sized containers that are easily transportable.

According to Tempohousing’s web site, “Tempohousing designs can be used in all climate zones and their storm proof and simple set up make them suitable for every country, for both short term temporary use and for permanent structures in residential and hotel markets.”

Tempohousing provides a system of housing that can be shipped anywhere worldwide; on their site it is said: “Speed is the name of the game in the construction industry and this is why we call the company Tempohousing: Tempo is from the Latin ‘tempus’ means ‘time’. Most of our project are for permanent use, but the modular design also allows easy relocation of an entire building, when necessary.”

Transportation of ISBU's

The first application of Tempohousing’s ISBU’s was for student dormitories in Amsterdam, Holland. It was called “Project Keetwonen,” and is the biggest container city in the world.

Keetwonen student housing ~ Amsterdam, Holland

The insides of these container homes are not cold, dark and ugly. Rather, they are completely furnished and provide a student with what they need.

Tempohousing’s site describes Keetwonen’s dormitory benefits: “They also come complete with amenities often missing in other student dormitories: your own bathroom and kitchen, balcony, separate sleeping and study room, large windows that provide daylight and a view and even an automatic ventilation system with variable speeds. The heating is from a central natural gas boiler system. The hot water is supplied by one 50 liter tank per home and a high speed internet connection is included, as well as a central audio phone system for visitors at the main door downstairs.”

Inside of a Keetwonen dorm

The ease with which Tempohousing can provide housing, may provide the ability to smaller countries to provide their populations with affordable and sustainable housing.

With the world’s population peaking over 6.8 billion people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, lack of space and decent housing is an issue that may continue to adversely affect many people in the world.

One such population that needs housing are those living in Haiti, whose standard of living has suffered due to the January 2010,  7.0 magnitude earthquake. Tempohousing has since dedicated itself to providing the country with 70 manufactured hotel units whose King units will be put together to form the hotel pictured below.

King Unit

Haitian Hotel

Watch a video of Tempohousing’s processes, production and applications below.

Click below to visit Tempohousing.
All photos courtesy of Tempohousing


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