The first Hungarian container house
Two cast off containers, a fanatic owner and money – these three conditions were necessary to design and build a very unique house. Then, you just have to find a spot to place it. And building your own summer house on the site of your favourite hotel is just as special as building a luxury camp from military tents. Divany.hu talked with Dániel Somogyi about Hungary’s first container house.
Dívány: Why was the building put at the edge of a hotel and a camping, after all?
- D.S.: A house like this was an old dream of mine, but I couldn’t find a place to put it. We’ve been visiting Nomád Hotel regularly for quite some time when I told the owner, Bari, that I’d like to build our own room here. So he showed me some spots. First, I had a kick at it, because we had to put the containers on a gully, which posed a lot of technical challenges. You should know that there are houses like this in the southern states of the USA and Scandinavia, but I haven’t seen any in Hungary before.
Dívány: How did the designing process go?
- D.S.: We had to make up a process as no one has ever done anything like this is Hungary. I had many versions in my head, I found a designer, whom I told what I wanted to see, and we started varying. We have a hall, for instance, which other apartments don’t usually have, but we wanted to show what it would be like as a dwelling house. It was quite easy to get the building permission, because this is not an actual dwelling house but a holiday house.
Dívány: What is there to be known about containers?
- D.S.: Carrier containers were designed to stand on their four corners so that they could be packed up ten floors high and take 35 tons. They can also stand water as these are very hard-wearing structures. However, we cut out a lot of fenestration space from the side walls of the trapezoid panel, so we needed extra support to keep its stability. It is also supported from under and we used steel rails due to the characteristics of the location.
The first thing that comes to most people’s mind is the question of costs. A 60 m2 house, standing on plain surface – depending on the materials used – can be built for around 10 million forints.
Dívány: If I have the money, how much time does the building take up?
- D.S.: From the order until the delivery it takes 2-3 months, and it’s important to emphasize that you can think of it as a dwelling house. Heating and hot water are both electric in the house and they can be controlled from distance via internet. We didn’t want to install gas, but you could do so as well. I originally planned a heat-pump solution, but it wouldn’t have been remuneratory, so we designed an economic electric heating, instead.
Dívány: How can you insulate a container?
- D.S.: The good answer to the cold-hot question is that the house has a 25 cm lagging. We haven’t put in air-conditioning; we want to see the house’s heat management without it. The windows are three layered and lag well. You could even put solar cells on top of the house, but this location is not suitable for this due to the closed treetop. If there were more houses like this in Noszvaj, it would be worth creating a settlement that would supply the containers with energy. Still, this is the future.
Copy editor: bm