Shipping Container House

Photographing landscapes and structures (and being the son of civil engineers), I’ve become a bit of an architecture fanboy. The trend towards building with shipping containers, whether a do-it-yourself effort or a pre-fab corporate approach, seems particularly exciting. This weekend, I encountered this in-construction house built from three forty-foot intermodal containers. The owners added sloped roof, a permanent foundation, and windows and doors outside, but they liked the shipping container aesthetic and plan to keep all of the original paint and labeling outside. I find that look charmingly authentic.

Shipping Container House I

Inside, however, there’s little hint of the structure’s more exotic origins. Though, like the exterior, the interior is still under construction, there’s a straightforward home inside the three long shipping containers worth of space.

Shipping Container House II

Crest in the Bay

I imagine the Bay Area like an elementary-school art project bowl, a bit lump and uneven but mostly ringed with hills. And like a proud child filling their handmade bowl with mounds of cereal and milk, there are lumps and liquid in the middle. If I strain the simile to the limit, both the bowl and the Bay are home of delicious foodstuffs. Rushing to the crest of Berkeley’s Grizzly Peak after a rich dinner, I can see the whole bowl. (And avoid the skunk sneaking up on us in the tall grass.)

Crest in the Bay

Between Berkeley and San Francisco

I spent this week BARTing back and forth from downtown San Francisco to “downtown” Berkeley for the American Chemical Society’s National Meeting. Bouncing between the familiar and the strange, all tinged with a general sense of familiarity, gave me a sense of dislocation, like an atom in slightly the wrong place in a crystal structure. Beyond meeting scientists and seeing old friends, I can think of one exciting new discovery this week: the new seat fabric on the BART is an enormous improvement over the horrifying cloth of yesteryear.

Between Berkeley and San Francisco

Industrial “Alpine Lodge”

This physical plant building at Berkeley Lab has the broad A-frame structure and charming attic windows of an alpine lodge. It also has an evergreen-encrusted window to Berkeley and the Port of Oakland. In spite of the appearance and the surroundings, this is a highly utilitarian setting. Quite the juxtaposition.

Industrial "Alpine Lodge"