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Beat The Housing And Transportation Crisis, Live In A Shipping Container

Posted in Design, Newsworthy, Traffic, Travel by Suzanne Denbow | September 24th, 2008 | 1 Response |

PNFC Global Communities co-founder Paul McCarthy and his three partners, Pablo Nava, Kyle Annen, and Mackenzie Bishop have made being destitute almost chic. According to the report in AZCentral, the creation of PNFC was inspired by a trip McCarthy took three years ago as an MBA student to the impoverished Mexico border city, Juarez, where he observed the deplorable living conditions of Fortune 1000 employees. Co-founding PNFC Global Communities, McCarthy made it his mission to change that by converting empty shipping containers into affordable homes, complete with air conditioning, ventilation, electrical wiring, and running water. Although technicalities have complicated mass production, the prototype PNFC managed to design illustrates their larger goal, which is to create entire communities of affordable, aesthetically tolerable housing. The current design model is a standard shipping container, measuring 40′ x 8′ x 8½, and features a modestly sized kitchen, bathroom [including the necessary plumbing], dinette area, and two separate bedrooms. Windows are carved out on either side of the container, and the exterior has been painted white to help deflect the heat.

The biggest problem McCarthy and his associates are facing is akin to similar hurdles designers in the auto industry face, which is keeping the production design true to concept form. More specifically, PNFC is struggling to maintain the core principle on which the container homes were conceived: portable and affordable. The concept container measures a total of 320 square feet, the standard size for shipping containers, in order to allow mass quantities of the units to be transported as well as efficiently stacked to create neat little apartment units [replete with balconies and staircases]. The problem is engineering such compact quarters while keeping the total cost under $8,000. Ultimately, the homes are intended to raise the standards of living in Juarez and places in similar conditions, where hard working families often live in ramshackle housing. McCarthy is quick to explain that PNFC’s housing developments are not intended to be welfare, however, but rather as a stepping stone for workers looking to build up some equity and move onto bigger and better things.

Currently, McCarthy and his associates are in talks with a Mexican law firm local to the Juarez area that has dealt with work-to-housing programs in the past, attempting to make deals with local Fortune 1000 companies in the area to fund PNFC’s start-up costs. They hope to begin production in the near future.

[Photo Cred: www.lwarc.com]

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  1. Sofar says:

    I believe in very traditional architecture, but honestly, that’s not bad looking. The wide eaves with the rafter tails makes it much more palletable.