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First Shipping Container House in Mojave Desert by Ecotech Design

By Eric Meunier


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Ecotech Design has completed the first Shipping Container Home in the Mojave Desert in collaboration with its design/build subsidiary Ecotech Build.

Located near Joshua Tree in California, the hybrid house, known as The Tim Palen Studio at Shadow Mountain is the prototype of a second generation pre-fab design for a residence and workplace developed by Ecotech Build.

The 2,300 square foot one bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom residence is made with six shipping containers and pre-engineered steel components.

According to the architects, the house was built for about $200 per square foot, including the foundation.

More shipping container houses here

The Tim Palen Studio by Ecotech Design:

“This kit-like housing product is being offered for the first time to homeowners who want more than what is currently available with pre-fab and manufactured housing , even custom construction. Some of its unique features include:

Hybrid house design: based on the efficient Prius automobile engineering concept, the hybrid house concept combines diverse pre-engineered building and energy conservation features to maximize efficiency and cost savings, while offering architectural design flexibility and variation.

All steel construction: an integrated, steel framing system provides extraordinary strength, earthquake, fire and wind protection, as well as large window and door openings to maximize natural daylighting, ventilation and evaporative cooling.

Solar home shading system: a bolt-on, adjustable steel frame and shade system creates 50% solar heat, glare and wind reduction on the building and solar breezeway that allows for plug-in attachment of future solar electric and water heating panel arrays.

Living roof: movable, bolt-on module add-ons use greywater irrigation and are planted with native desert plants and sedums to absorb heat, glare, dust and CO2.

Water conservation: integrated greywater, water harvesting and storage systems.

Reduced Costs: Finished construction costs at 50% of equivalent, locally available, prefab alternatives.

By combining high-efficiency and mass-produced modular construction methods with innovative design in one of the harshest climate zones in North America, we have developed a low-cost, sustainable, housing system that can be transported and quickly erected anywhere in the world,” explains Architect, Walter Scott Perry, AIA, and Principal of Ecotech Design.

The hybrid house consists of cargo containers and pre-engineered steel building components that can be erected and combined together at the site, often in less than an hour.

The typical housing project in San Bernardino County takes one to three months to go through entitlement and permitting alone, adds Contractor, Eric Engheben Our project was approved and permitted in just one week.”

More shipping container houses here

Photos by: Jack Parsons

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About Eric Meunier

Currently the Owner and Chief Executive of HODYO Design, Eric Meunier's expertise in the design industry spreads over 20 years. He was the driving force behind HomeDSGN's early success, founding this website in 2011. Today, he loves to channel his passion for design into remodeling houses and transforming interior spaces with his keen eye for detail and architectural finesse. Learn more about HomeDSGN's Editorial Process.

4 thoughts on “First Shipping Container House in Mojave Desert by Ecotech Design”

  1. 2300 sq ft and only 1 bedroom?
    $200/sq ft for prefab?………..sounds like custom prices and anyone
    could get at least 2-3 bedrooms in 2300 s.f. for that price.
    think we could do better……..novel at best
    rh (architect)

  2. @ RonH –

    Thankyou ! This house is beautiful no doubt about it but at least someone else sees the issue of a 2300 sqft one bedroom home being presented as a “benchmark model for green design”.

    There are a ton of great elements in this home that deserve acclaim but its is just too big and too expensive ( $460,000 build cost alone ) to be much of a true green design benchmark.

  3. I agree. I just started looking at building a custom home using storage containers but it just seems like the cost to build one is considerably higher than a traditional stick built home. The traditional stick built look modulars home quotes that I’m getting are at least 40% cheaper than the prices I’m seeing for these. It just seems like at least right now, you’re paying for exclusivity/originality and making a green statement than you are actually saving money. It’s a shame, I wonder where all the costs go.


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