The Free Agent House by Jibe Design

Juliet, the principal architect at Jibe Design, shared this clever container-based home design with me and thought it might be interesting to readers of Tiny House Design. I think she’s absolutely right and applaud her for this new take on shipping container based homes.

The main design challenge was to squeeze a small off-grid home into a 15-foot wide city lot. Shipping containers are 8-feet wide, so immediately you might see how some creative solutions would be needed. After all if you placed two containers side-by-side they would extend one foot beyond this tiny space.

So she teamed up with Naquib Hossain, a frequent collaborator, and produced this novel solution. Stack two shipping containers and cut a third diagonally to open the interior space up while maximizing the available lot size. This approach resulted in an interior that measures 628 square feet on two levels, made from three 30-foot shipping containers.

While this diagonal cut and stacking would add to the fabrication effort, it should definitely help the home feel a lot less like a narrow metal box. The total expected cost to build this home is $50,000.

Here’s what Juliet says about the project:

The Free Agent House explores the urban possibilities of living efficiently and affordably “off the grid.” The home is constructed of three shipping containers sliced and stacked to fit on a fifteen foot wide city lot.  The efficient layout maximizes passive heating and cooling. Glazing on the southern frontage receives the winter sun and sliding louvers block the summer heat.  Vacuum-insulated-panels super-insulate the building envelope’s tight perimeter and achieve an exceptional R-value with minimal thickness. A seasonal heat collector augments the passive heating system.

Low voltage appliances run off a rooftop photovoltaic array.  The sun also heats the home’s water.  The only municipal utilities the home connects to are the water and sewar systems.  A stormwater collection cistern irrigates the extensive vegetable garden.  At an estimated price of $50k, the building houses a free agent, liberated from high construction and operating costs.

Jibe Design built a physical model of their design, a rarity now that computer renderings have become the norm. Stuart Goldenberg of Goldenberg Photography shot pictures of the house model as an art project.  Stuart’s photographs expand the project.  The photographs express a certain melancholy and sense of silence.

When asked “Is that cost estimate achievable?”, she answered, “The cost has been rigorously analyzed.  The key to the low cost is the client himself – a skilled craftsman in many trades – who will build much of the project with his own hands.”

To learn more visit Jibe Design. Photo credit to Goldenberg Photography.


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