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Rhino Cube shipping container dwelling operates on- or off-grid


May 30, 2014

The Rhino Cube, by Boulder, Colorado-based company Rhino Cubed (Photo: Rhino Cubed)

The Rhino Cube, by Boulder, Colorado-based company Rhino Cubed (Photo: Rhino Cubed)

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Boulder, Colorado-based small home firm Rhino Cubed recently launched its line of shipping container-based micro-homes. The most fully-equipped model is named the Rhino Cube, and is suitable for use as a weekend retreat or full-time dwelling. It can operate either on or off-the-grid, and will set you back US$60,000.

The first completed Rhino Cube unit is nicknamed the "Zulu Queen" in honor of a ski run in Telluride, Colorado. It's built from one 6 m (20 ft)-long shipping container, and comprises 15 sq m (160 sq ft) of floorspace. Both the interior and exterior sport small artistic finishing touches, such as a steel Rhino horn sculpture and hand-drawn artwork.

As standard, there's a large kitchen inside, with a cooktop, refrigerator, and Ikea-sourced cabinets and storage. The cooktop is a two-burner model that runs on denatured alcohol, as does a small heater that should be suitable for all but the worst of Colorado's winter weather. The interior also contains bunk beds and a small lounge area.

Though the debut model featured here contains no bathroom, Rhino Cubed co-founder Jan Burton informed Gizmag that a bathroom is optional on the slightly larger 7.6 m (25 ft)-long Rhino Cube unit, and it contains a sink, shower, and composting toilet.

The Rhino Cube is certified lead-free and sports three fiberglass double pane energy-efficient windows, insulated hardwood hickory floor, and insulated walls and ceiling. Both on-and-off-grid models are available, and the roof has a small wooden porch and rainwater catchment system affixed, while a grey water system handles the disposal of waste water.

A Yeti 1,250-watt solar-powered generator drives the refrigerator and any other required electric appliances. Lighting is provided by efficient LED lights. In addition, the exterior features bolt-on attachments that enable owners to fasten on extra gear such as bike racks, a garden lattice, or an awning.

Source: Rhino Cubed

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

Who would pay $60K to live in this? Shrink the kitchen by half and partition off a small composting loo and shower room before it is worth consideration. Make the partion out of L-ion batteries for solar panel charging, forget the generator and its exhaust fumes as well. Pie-in-the-sky designers never seem to consider or even think of practicality or value. How much does the "Rhino horn statue and hand-drawn artwork" add to the cost? $10K?

The Skud

I still don't understand why most designers and architects who want to use shipping containers as a source for home building seem to insist that the structure look like a shipping container once it is complete. I'm guessing they assume it will become a feather in their cap for being "green", but it comes off more like greenwashing.

It is possible to build a home using shipping containers and to make it appear like every other home in the neighborhood, if these designers would simply approach it that way.

Personally, I want the savings that using shipping containers can give me in a home, not the hipster, tiny house, feather in my cap simply for repurposing a material for another use.

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