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.
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.
Do you see the lone person, sitting on the hillside, on the right side of this image? People provide scale, but also something more in this context. In addition to watching the literal gradient of the sky at sunset, this picture is part of a set of images of the “civilization gradient” from wilderness to dense city center. I quite like the added layer of a gradient from the individual in nature to the greater mass of humanity in cities. Traveling between rural New York and the crowded Bay Area has made me more aware than ever of the contrast.
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.)