Hamilton is delivered its first shipping container home


Geoffrey Young sat on a bench, watching intently from across the street as crews assembled the eight shipping containers that will make up his home — the first of its kind in Hamilton.

Young, along with his family and red containers, arrived in the city Wednesday to a plot of land downtown on Arkledun Avenue, where a concrete foundation had been waiting.

The design features eight shipping containers connected together on a concrete base, creating a 2,500 square-foot home built into the Niagara Escarpment, designed to fit into its surrounding urban environment.

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According to Young, his Toronto designer claims this is the first urban-zoned shipping container house in mainland Canadian history, and certainly a first for Hamilton.

The project was a result of wanting “something better” in terms of Canadian urban development.

Young, his wYoung says it was the city itself and a downtown lot that were big factors in deciding to make the move saying, “Hamilton is terrific.”ife and baby daughter arrived from Brighton, Ont. where they had been staying after moving back to Canada from Bolivia.

“The decision was based on the city and then the container build was just a result of a lot of personal research into sustainability and development,” said Young.

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A little help from his friends

Young will be doing the building himself with the help of a few experienced friends.

The inHe says he’s both excited and apprehensive about the project.

“I think it’ll become more exciting as it progresses and I get a bit more of an idea of precisely what I’m in for in terms of how we have to finish it, how it’s going to feel [and] make sure it feels like how it’s designed to feel, especially in the winter,” said Young.

A fan of the city, Young says working with it hasn’t been easy over the four years that it’s taken to arrive at this point in the project.

Young says the plot was previously owned by the city and had been left vacant after a house fire 60 years ago.

Three different neighbour’s pipes running through the property, a variance required for parking and a few other issues have created numerous hurdles.

“It’s been a disaster with the city, but finally we’ve managed to get everything cleared enough that we could go ahead and get the foundation and move the containers onto it,” said Young.

The 40-year-old says everybody around is supportive of it because there’s been a hole there for 60 years.

Modern but not cheap

Anthony Ruggiero, a quality control manager for Storstac, the company that supplied and modified the 40-foot-high cubes, was on site Wednesday.

He says he doesn’t see the shipping container home as a trend.

Ruggiero says there’s a misconception that using shipping containers is less expensive than a traditional build.

“In reality it’s apples for apples,” said Ruggiero.

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Ruggiero did say the advantage of using the containers is the quick deployability and the robustness.

“As long as you’re into ultramodern or you like containers, obviously the looks are a big appeal,” said Ruggiero.

Young told CBC News the containers are about $8,000 to $10,000 each, but about $20,000 each after the work has been done to them.

He’s not sure what the final price tag will be, but he’s estimating $400,000 to $500,000, “or a good hunk more.”

They’re hoping to move in within the next two to three months and will look into renting out a couple rooms to international students.

door finishes he says, will look like a normal house, except for where they’ve purposely left the steel exposed.