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[Cob] building with shipping containers, straw bales, and cob

Tim Nam tkn317071 at
Thu Jun 26 01:56:59 CDT 2008

Do you have access to free containers or something? I mean, why not just stick with the strawbale and cob?  Just asking.

I would use the containers for a basement, if at all.

 Tim Kijoo Nam
Corvallis, OR
tkn317071 at
"We are discussing no small matter, but how we ought to live." -Socrates

----- Original Message ----
From: Selvoy Fillerup <selvoy at>
To: coblist at
Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 6:12:21 PM
Subject: [Cob] building with shipping containers, straw bales, and cob

I’d like to discuss the possibility of incorporating recycled shipping containers with natural materials (such as straw bales and cob) to create a natural/industrial blended home. I prefer the organic look and feel of natural materials and would like to use containers as a skeletal framework on which to build. Does anyone have experience with both methods of construction? 
From what I have seen, people building with containers tend to weld them together to form large, boxy structures. The containers always seem to be situated next to or on top of each other with the walls or floors cut away to open up the floor plan. The homes look nice and polished, but they frequently come off as a little too sterile for my taste and they’re downright repulsive to my wife. 
While I’m okay with an industrial looking home, my wife has threatened to leave me if I ask her to live in one. She hates the corrugated walls and boxy feel. This is where we agreed to compromise. She’ll allow me to build with containers as long as she gets 9+’ ceilings and doesn’t have to look at corrugated walls. And therein lies the architectural challenge: How do I build an affordable home given the fact that container walls are corrugated and the height of most containers is between 8 and 9 feet high? 
What we have come up with are several designs that separate the containers instead of stacking them together. Separating them adds to the overall square footage of the house, but it also reduces the number of containers required to create the same amount of living space. I’m unsure of how best to make high ceilings, but copying the boxy structures is one solution. I know of several ways to cover the walls, but we both prefer the natural, organic look. 
As an architectural challenge, I would like to work within the parameters of the containers to create a comfortable living space using natural materials for insulation. I feel that both methods of construction are environmentally responsible. Additionally, used separately they are very cost effective in terms of construction, maintenance, and longevity. But what about using them together? 
If anyone has thoughts on my wahoo ideas, please let me know. Better to find out I’m in left field now than after I begin construction. If anyone would like to visit on the phone, I’d be willing to arrange a time to do so. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Selvoy Fillerup
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