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External view of side doors of shipping container home open
Couple in timber lined shipping container home
View towards fold down bed and fireplace in off-grid container home
Blue shipping container with solar panels and wind turbine

Designed by Pin-Up Houses, this tiny home called Gaia is made from a discarded shipping container. This experimental and self-sufficient home was designed to have less negative impact on the environment by providing its own energy and water needs.

The off-grid shipping container home is powered by solar panels and wind turbine energy with excess energy stored in batteries, tucked away in a bathroom cupboard. A handy and simple app can be used to monitor battery level, charging and consumption, making your energy needs easy to look after. The system can be used to power the home’s lighting, water heater and small fridge and if additional power is required, a higher voltage inverter can be included in the system.

Dining table in front of fireplace in timber lined shipping container home
Lady smiling in timber lined kitchen of off-grid shipping container home

Thrifty use of space allows for a lounge to fold out into a bed, a fold down table provides indoor dining space or a place to work remotely, and an outdoor terrace is created by using a hand winch to open one side of the container. It can be closed up to securely lock up the home or provide more privacy. Additional outdoor foldable chairs and table, create an outdoor living space, and can be hung from a wall when not in use.

Man lowering fold down bed inside off-grid shipping container home
Woman reading a book on the fold out bed in shipping container home

The shipping container is covered with an oversized corrugated metal roof as a clever way to increase the available surface area to capture rainwater. The water is stored in an 1,000 litre tank called an IBC (intermediate bulk container) and is filtered and used in the kitchen and bathroom. The large overhanging metal roof also provides shade for the tiny home and protects it from the elements.

Timber walls in living area of off-grid shipping container home
External view of blue shipping container home with solar panels
View inside open doors of the off-grid shipping container home

Pin-Up Houses are small house specialists and they offer DIY building plans for tiny homes, cabins, cottages, sheds and kids playhouses. They provide a highly detailed step-by-step guides on how to build your house and include low-cost and easily sourced materials. Founder and main architect, Joshua Woodsman says that some people follow the plans diligently to build their own project while others use them as inspiration for their own bespoke design.

Man playing guitar and woman sitting at desk in off-grid shipping container house
Fireplace inside timber lined off-grid shipping container home
Plywood cupboard and timber interior of off-grid shipping container house

Sustainability specs:
– Reuse of discarded shipping container
– Rainwater is harvested in a 1000L tank and filtered for use in the kitchen and bathroom
– Internal fitout made with locally sourced materials
– Locally available spruce plywood used for wall and ceiling lining, kitchen joinery, flooring, storage cupboards
– Timber framing used internally
– Internal walls are lined with thermal insulation
– 3 x 165W rooftop solar panels
– 400W/24V wind turbine
– Heated by a small wood heater
– Off-grid shipping container home

A couple in the blue shipping container deck with lights on
Blue shipping container in snow, lowering door
Axonometic view of off-grid shipping container home
From the architect:

Our planet is increasingly facing many new and difficult challenges. Therefore, it‘s necessary to look for alternative forms of housing that will have a less negative impact on the environment, as well as complement traditional approaches to housing. That is why we at Pin-Up Houses have decided to repurpose a discarded shipping container and fit it out with the most available building materials and latest technology to design a unique independent housing unit.

Off-Grid Container House Gaia is the prototype that is part of our ongoing research into the feasibility of recycled environmentally friendly small houses. This concept is based on our long-term experience with tiny house construction, creating easy to follow plans and books for DIY constructors.

Images courtesy of Pin-Up Houses. Photography by Jakub Zdechovan

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