Construction Photos

13 01 2011

Buildings are scheduled to be completed in the next few weeks.  Some pictures attached of progress.  Looking forward to the spring!

Young Leaders Group Community Outreach

4 10 2010

Join us to build the state’s largest urban garden @ DHA’s Sustainability Park (2501 Arapahoe Street, Denver, CO)

Join your fellow ULI Young Leaders on Thursday, October 21 for a great community outreach project – help plant perennials at Denver’s new Sustainability Park.

Denver Housing Authority (DHA) is using 2.4 acres it owns in the Curtis Park neighborhood to demonstrate today’s most cutting edge sustainability practices in an urban setting. The focus of Sustainability Park is on renewable energy, energy efficiency, local food production, water management, and developing quantifiable metrics for these new cutting edge sustainability products/practices.

DHA has offered ULI the opportunity to work alongside the Curtis Park community to transplant perennials from DHA’s Westwood Homes rehab project. So bring your work clothes and get ready to get your hands dirty! 50 volunteers are needed – so bring a friend!

The event will kick off with a presentation where you will have the opportunity to learn about the work of the Denver Housing Authority (DHA), the Urban Farmers Collaborative and Colorado Renewable Energy Society.

After the community service project is complete, attendees will walk to GreenSpaces for a complimentary social where donations may be accepted to benefit GreenLeaf. If you register to participate in the community service project, you will automatically be registered for the reception.

Register online by Monday, October 18. The event is free to attend, but you must register. Please invite colleagues and anyone else you think may be interested.

Questions?  Contact Judd Robertson ( or Chris Spelke (

Join us for the reception:
Immediately following the community service project we will be hosting a reception to benefit GreenLeaf: a new organization, launched in 2009, that transforms vacant land in
Denver into vibrant, productive urban farms. The FREE reception will be held at GreenSpace (1368 26th Street, Denver, CO).

What it is…in pictures

29 09 2010

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I love walking up 17th street and checking in on Elaine at her farm. Moving past the garbage containers, up some wobbly stairs and, alas, in all her wonder…she stands there, in her boots, tending to the farm. Basil, eggplant, beans. Everything about it is refreshing; the vegetables, the location, the fact that you can depend on Elaine being there, day in/day out. Even better – when you cross the street and see her vegetables being bought in the local boutique grocery store. I love it. There are restaurants in the neighborhood that purchase her vegetables as well. To me this is the epitomy of sustainability.

New Renderings

19 09 2010


Next Steps

17 09 2010

The farmers, Denver Housing Authority and architects met to discuss how to cut costs.  It appears that by donating volunteer labor, parsing out fundraising/sponsorship opportunities, and cutting down on a few of the design elements, we will be able to make this happen for a total of about $100,000.  Approximately $60,000 of this is for the site work/soil preparation and utilities, while the remaining $40,000 is for the building. This is quite an accomplishment- necessary- yet slightly surprising and quite a relief.  I will be posting video of the construction and development process that will be happening over the course of the next month.  This is the fastest project I have ever been a part of.  Construction documents will be completed Saturday.

Have a good weekend!


Containing Costs

14 09 2010

Many of the people who are curious about shipping container construction often ask about the financial aspect of it. Just how much does it cost to construct buildings, storage units or walls out of shipping containers?

The cost estimates for this project came back and they were about 50% higher than what had been outlined in the budget.  We reviewed and revised the numbers and came to the conclusion that we would not be able to have as much monopan (translucent polycarbonate material – as we had originally thought we might. Another important issue to be considered was the paint. Although aesthetics are always important for designing structures, the aesthetics of a structure built out of shipping containers is one of the focal points of discussion. We also discussed the possibility of acquiring more affordable exhaust fans.

Opening day/volunteer day is about six weeks away.


Shipping Container Development

13 09 2010

(Image from “The Daily Green“)

Over the past few weeks, I have come to the conclusion that there is tremendous interest in shipping container housing and construction.  Last week, I attended a green tech meet-up event in Boulder. I found that every time I used the term ‘shipping container architecture’, a genuine look of interest came across people’s faces, regardless of their job and background.  It seems that it is the same way with urban agriculture but on a volunteer/grassroots level rather than a business level. Recently, I had a ten minute conversation with someone about shipping containers and he asked me to put a business plan together.  I have never had such response to any proposal. After the responses of interest over the past few weeks, I have realized that I should connect and engage with the shipping container architecture world a little more.  I would love to hear from people who are developing and building businesses around shipping container architecture. How is it going?  Is it really effective for modular housing?

The first link I came across today was intriguing and somewhat disappointing. It was intriguing because of the way they are manufacturing modular steel containers based on shipping container standard sizes, but modifying for ease of construction.  The hotel they developed in London is the only multistory building I have seen that does not look like a shipping container building. This is really key, I think, to the movement.  Otherwise there is no opportunity for mass appeal.  I did not know they used raw materials to build, though.  I was, and still am, hopeful that there is a market for used containers.

For those of you interested in reading more, I have listed some websites that may be of interest below.


SG Blocks


The Daily Green’s slideshow of homes and offices built from shipping containers. Here.

My email address is

I look forward to hearing from anyone already involved in building shipping container buildings or from people who have questions about the process.




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