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HomeBox offers family living in a space no bigger than a standard freight container


October 16, 2012

German architectural studio Slawik has created a portable home that fits into the size of a standard shipping container

German architectural studio Slawik has created a portable home that fits into the size of a standard shipping container

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German architectural studio Slawik has created a portable home that fits into the size of a standard shipping container. Dubbed HomeBox, the multi-purpose home has been designed so it can be easily transported to various locations for temporary or permanent use. Due to its compact size and transportability the home can also double as emergency housing.

Though we've seen various homes made out of shipping containers (the Eco-Pak, Infiniski and Shipping Container House all spring to mind), the idea of a house designed to fit inside a container is rather different.

“The bearing construction is from wood and measures to fit into an international standard freight container,” Slawik’s leading architect Prof. Han Slawik told Gizmag. “Therefore after the first use you can easily transport and re-use the HomeBox to other places around the world.”

With a small base footprint of just 7 m2 (75 ft2), the HomeBox differentiates itself from traditional container homes by being positioned upright and not on the longer side. The base measures approximately 2.9 m by 2.4 m (9.5 ft by 7.9 ft) and thus the home is reminiscent of a small tower, requiring significantly less space than regular compact homes.

“There are many gap sites within cities which can be used for temporary small removable houses,” said Prof. Slawik. “Furthermore you can configure the modules to create a container village or even a container city.”

The compact home is spread across three levels, all of equal height. To minimize construction costs, wood has been used as the home’s primary material, including many inbuilt features such as the kitchen table, chairs, bed, staircases and window shutters. The ground level features an entrance with a large wooden shutter that opens out and doubles as an outdoor terrace. The interior space includes a kitchen and bathroom, the main bedroom is positioned on the second level and the top level features an open and light filled living/working space.

A recently updated HomeBox 2 features three levels with different heights and larger windows, while a third HomeBox is currently in planning. The HomeBoxes will soon be available for purchase with a starting price of approximately €25,000 (US$32,500). Bulk purchases of 10–15 HomeBoxes can be bought at a discounted rate.

Source: Slawik Architects via Architizer

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

It seems like a pointless and space wasting gimmick without much of a benefit. By being positioned upright, this design seems to require more engineering to prevent tipping over, and in constructing the stairs, which I think generally consumes more space than a horizontal space of the same size that could easily be designed without any equivalent hallway.

Also, more injuries occur on stairs than any other place in a multistory dwelling and is far more hazardous and difficult to navigate for young children, the handicapped and the elderly.


Looks interesting but with being so tall it would be in danger of being blown over on some of the windier and stormier days here in Texas...


At first I thought this idea bears merit and all went well until the price 25000 euros!that is a quarter million bucks in my money R250,000.00 - but for 10k in my money (that's 1000euros) you can buy an old container. Also the wood required to build a SOLID slab of wood the size of a container is far less than a quarter million you could then use said wood and build a few homes and buy a car. Also we south africans don't do wooden houses if its not made from brick or stone then its a shack. In cape town the wind blows hard enough to flip a double decker bus over so this idea can go fool some other people.


Like the concept for here in Oregon, My Mum would move in in a second

Bill Bennett

The stability issue can be addressed by simply interlocking the units into a large 'block' of several units (not sure if these are designed to lock together or not at the moment).

My suggestion would be to create a 'plus sign' of 5 interlocked units in a square formation - this would be 4 normal units, then a 5th 'utility' hub to go in the centre. The utility hub would be similar to the living space unit, except it would contain 4 kitchenettes downstairs, and 4 en-suite's upstairs - all plumbed/wired to connect as a single unit. You could also run a generator from the 'hub' for electricity, heating & light.


I think my kitchen is bigger than that house.


The problem with the horizontal units is that they offer no view. this just might be a unit that could be used in a tight spot to view the sea,hills or other cool locations.


This could be a great quality life improvement in the slums or favelas in Brazil or in others countries..I hope that's gonna be possible one day...with a minor steel thickness and a big production quantity it'll be possible.

Eduardo Cunha

Fine for an emergency,, but permanent living I'd say too small. For me at least.

Joe Sobotka

I love tiny houses but have found out 7.5' sq isn't very useful for any but very short term living. Over a week and it'll get to you.

I agree with yrag on his/her points. Stairs just take up too much space.


Hey MasterG

Where do you buy a shipping container for 10 grand? Please send me a link, Im in Cape Town

Bradley Moore

Where is the bathroom?

Glenn Davis

People are absolutely fascinated by very small houses. The proof is that we see a never ending string of these "going to save the earth" small house designs show up in magazines. These things are not cheap, so the people that build these one-offs are really digging into somebody's pocket to build one. The other evidence of how popular these things are is how much attention they get from the public. When they go on display, people flock to see them. Also, look at the large number of comments from readers that articles in Gizmag on tiny houses have gotten over the years. I never look at the articles on computers or electronics because I'm not interested in them, so why do so many people read articles on tiny houses and then leave negative comments? In spite of their nay saying, they are fascinated by tiny houses. I laugh at the comments here about this house being blown over in a wind, as if the designers hadn't engineered an adequate foundation. The safety of stairs is questioned, yet millions of people prefer living in multi-story homes and pay the money to prove it. If there is a view, this little house will let you see it. The guys who fear cabin fever really crack me up. They're the same geeks who sit behind a computer all stinking day, never moving except to go to the bathroom. They sure are smart owning a 3,000 SF house while using 3% of the space for 90% of their waking hours. Is this tiny house cheap? NO! Will the poor huddled masses be able to afford it? NO! Will it save the refugees of the world during their hour of need? Not a chance! On the other hand it's a fun little house for someone with a fair amount of extra money and a nice view over yonder he can't quite see at the moment.


Of all the solutions, this is the most practical, promising and cost effective.

Dawar Saify
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