Friday, March 27, 2009

Livin' in a Freight Train: Architecture Inside the Box

Let's all go live in a freight train.... no, not the Hobo method, of jumping into trains and riding West. I mean the convergence of architecture, environmental studies, and the economic downturn, to make truly fascinating and sustainable houses. I remember seeing a television story about how, in Melville, Wherever, they have become victim of tons of abandoned train cars, and since the train company owns the cars and owns the train track, they can do that. But having a wall of train cars spread across town is quite an eyesore, especially when graffiti artists get through with it.

Enter in this article, which proposes that we use the train cars to build environmentally friendly and energy dependent homes for people. Now, I care very little about the environmental part, although since it will save money, and looks so incredibly cool, it works for me. I can let Al Gore gloat on this one. But the architecture is what is astounding, to make such marvels of building from train cars. Go see the article:

to see what I mean. Also, go check out the book The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton, (ISBN = 0375424431) who referenced French Architect Le Corbuiser, who proposed redoing much of Paris in the early 1900's with apartment buildings that remind me a lot of the university buildings in Amsterdam built out of train cars, each housing a French family, providing them with luxuries not usually afforded them.

He also was quoted as saying, when asked what his favorite chair was, he said, the cockpit of an airplane. To him, utilitarianism was paramount to the shape and function of any architecture. Beauty must have function as well as beauty. In the houses made of train cars, wide windows, letting in copious amounts of light, solar paneling providing energy, and the insulation of the cars itself make it a fantastic, functional building, with the potential of great beauty out of what was an ugly and abandoned train car.

See related blogs starting February 17th, 2008.

Canada's Bark Design Collective built the All Terrain Cabin (ATC) as a showcase for sustainable (and Canadian!) ingenuity. The small home is based on a standard shipping container, and is said to be suitable for a family of four, plus a pet, to live off the grid in comfort and style.

The cabin folds up to look like any old shipping container, and can be sent via rail, truck, ship, airplane, or even helicopter. When you're ready to rest your bones, the cabin quickly unfolds to 480 square feet of living space, with a range of creature comforts.
(From the Article listed above)

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