Saturday, November 7, 2009

Be careful what you wish for.

After over a month of research and planning, I took the step of buying an actual container. I chose what they call a "high container". It's 9'6" tall vs. the standard 8'6". I think the higher ceiling would work out nicely. We set up delivery and awaited the fun. It arrived and suddenly the true scope and physical size of this project occurred to Margot and I both. HUGE and HEAVY.

This thing is big and simply walking around, over and into it puts things into perspective. Did I mention that it's heavy too?

I pondered renting a forklift until I found out it was $500 to do so. We decided to take our chances with some 4" PVC pipe designed for sewer systems, a floor jack, bumper jack, shovel, 40' of chain and the Jeep. We waited for the mud in the yard to dry up and Chris was gracious enough to come over on his day off to lend a hand. On Friday, the fun began.

It took about 5 hours of digging, jacking ramming and cursing to get it into place. Getting it in the air was surprisingly easy, but pushing it around was not. Let's just say we were all impressed that the Jeep or one of us wasn't damaged.

Margot watched and spotted anxiously while shooting pics and cheering us on. We even gave her a shot at the floor jack and she quickly figured out why we were sweating. It's finally in place and ready for the real work to begin. I've gathered up a rough sketch of the plan, a welder, a torch, a grinder and more than a few materials and I look forward to getting a jump on it this week. Updates to follow....

Lincoln Logs

For over 5 years now I've pondered the shipping container as the ultimate adult-sized building blocks. Like the Lincoln Logs of my childhood, I looked at them as pieces of endless configurable possibility. As early as I can remember I was interested in stacking things and modifying things to fit my vision and imagination. Like the cardboard bricks I found at my cousin's house, the boring rectangular box could become something totally different with some vision and patience.

For those who are wondering what the hell a shipping container is, I'll explain a bit further: Today our country's trend of importing more than exporting has meant the huge metal boxes used to ship us everything, from Korean car parts to Brazilian bananas, sit dormant at our ports waiting to be recycled and modified for a new life in America. This has allowed many industrious people to build everything from apartments and hotel rooms to mobile hurricane and earthquake-proof shelter for displaced residents. Some are used as storage for tools and random junk and others are turned into architectural art pieces that challenge current building trends and help prove that form and function really can come together in unexpected places.

I recently made the decision to finally buy and build one of my own into a project workspace with hopes of creating something beautifully functional and inspiring. Perhaps my goals are lofty, but I'm doing it regardless and plan to share the progress of the build here.