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Joel Karr speaks on shipping containers (2013)
CBS news, Channel 5

Container Architecture-Stacked for Success (2009)
Environmental Design and Construction Magazine

Group 41 and Container Nation on Arch Daily (2009)

Saving the World- One Container at a Time

With this recent win under the firm's belt, they turned their attention to utilizing shipping container design to help solve one of the world's greatest challenges- housing the homeless. Their submission to Google Inc.'s 10 to 100 call for beneficial, world-changing ideas, proposed upcycling containers and transforming them into emergency and homeless shelters. By employing the simplest of systems, the green housing utilizes one container, photovoltaic panels and rainwater cisterns, creating a comfortable home for an extended family; a simple, yet innovative solution to a monumental global problem. The Google competition has generated more than 150,000 online submissions that range from energy and the environment to shelter and education. The top 100 ideas will be announced by Google in late January 2009 at which point voting will be opened up to the public to help identify the top 20 semi-finalists.

Going Green in Utah

Also currently on the boards is a 200-unit housing complex in a suburb of Salt Lake City, part of the city's latest revitalization efforts. The transit-oriented project is in the beginning phases of conceptual design and Group 41 is working closely with the developers to ensure high "green" standards that include upcycling shipping containers.

"In addition to being an environmentally responsible alternative, used containers are designed for long term durability and minimal maintenance, making them an ideal, affordable material, when building in scale and volume" notes Karr.

As the economic landscape changes and the building industry becomes increasingly competitive, builders will rely on architects and designers to generate innovative and cost-effective design solutions. Considering their availability, durability, and sustainability, shipping containers will certainly become building blocks for the future and Group 41 is well positioned to lead the way as shipping container architecture continues to evolve.