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GM Sponsors Container Home in Detroit

01.06.2014 - Posted by Updated On 01.06.2014    

General Motors has recently released information regarding an innovative idea to combat urban blight in Detroit, a small urban farm and home built from a shipping container.  The company is sponsoring the idea, while the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, TAKD Design, and Integrity Building Group will be building the house with one 40' shipping container, and scrap materials donated by General Motors.

The main goal is to display how effective urban farming can be when coupled with recycling cast off industrial materials and recycled parts.  The container home will have 320 square feet of living space and a student/care taker will live in the home for a year while tending to the garden.  There will be two bedrooms, a bathroom, and kitchen for up to two care takers to share.

Unlike many of the other container projects that we've highlighted, GM has taken a different approach and decided to repurpose materials from several of the factories to incorporate into the design:

  • Bird houses and planter boxes will be made from Chevy Volt battery cases.
  • Vehicle insulation will be used to insulate the walls and dampen the sound.
  • Tools will be stored in former company lockers.
  • Small containers that previously held things like nuts and bolts will be used for seedling starter containers.
  • Internal walls will be built from plywood that was previously a shipping crate.
  • Tables and bed frames will be made from wooden pallets.
Daniel Mears / The Detroit News

Local GM workers are volunteering their time to build the container home, and it will be moved onto the site in the fall of 2014.  In total, it's estimated that the full conversion will cost around $20,000-$25,000.

Shipping container housing is growing in popularity due to the wide availability of containers in most areas, quick construction times, and environmentally friendly housing.  If you're interested in building a container home, or having one built for you, feel free to contact any of the sellers listed on, or you may contact us directly and we'll be happy to help you get your project started.

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