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South Bay house will be made with 14 recycled shipping containers

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The Redondo Beach pad is almost ready for move-in

As architects, business owners, and homebuilders seek ways to cut costs and develop more sustainably, shipping containers have become surprisingly trendy as a building material. Already, Los Angeles has seen the creation of shipping container shopping centers, popup coffee shops, and un-permitted hilltop dwellings. There are even plans afoot in Orange County to use the corrugated steel boxes to create housing for the homeless.

Now, in Redondo Beach, work is underway on an innovative residential project that will use 14 “up-cycled” containers to create two connected residential units. It’s a sign that the building trend is catching on not just as a quick solution for cash-strapped businesses or for the construction of temporary housing, but as a real option for permanent single and multifamily dwellings.

In this case, the project, called the Lucia Container Home, consists of two connected units that will house three generations of a single family. Homeowner Paula Dowd says her family “needed to find a way to bring together three generations ... into a home that provides space for each, meets our aesthetic aspirations, doesn’t break the bank, and uses natural resources wisely in the process.”

Using shipping containers evidently allowed the Dowds to achieve those goals, with AIA architect Peter DeMaria creating a design that fit their specific needs. Relying on shipping containers for the home’s skeletal structure kept project costs down and will result in a home that the Dowds say will be significantly more durable than a more traditionally constructed residence.

Completed with 85 percent recycled steel, and including solar power and sustainable finish materials, the home also projects to be a bit more eco-friendly. “We envision our container home project as an unmatched opportunity to show our children how important it is to care for our family and inspire them to be great stewards of the Planet,” Dowd says.

Construction on the home is expected to wrap up in spring.