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A shipping container becomes a low-budget beach house

For the renovation of a fishermen’s house, the Spanish studio Xpiral has expanded the spaces by inserting a container, wrapped in an orange tarpaulin.

In Spain, in a village on the shore of the Menor Sea, a coastal lagoon in the southeastern region of the country, the architectural firm Xpiral has rehabilitated a small fishing house.

The old building needed both a renovation, to promote comfort, and a real extension, to adapt to the needs of the new tenants. To keep the project low-budget, the Spanish studio decided to use a shipping container to accommodate the new size required.

Xpiral, Vivir frente al mar, Los Urrutias, Cartagena, Spain, 2020. Photo David Frutos

Before positioning the container on the roof of the pre-existing building, the metal volume was drilled in several points, giving the opportunity to shape the rigid parallelepiped with new spaces, useful to accommodate service spaces or three-dimensional skylights. The volume was then wrapped with an insulating layer and an orange metal tarpaulin for trucks, obtained from a nearby company.

“Exposed concrete, underfloor heating, bent sheet metal, plastic materials such as polycarbonate or fiberglass”, the designers say, “configure the expressive materiality of this house where luxury does not lie in some refined finishes, but in the power of sight, in the sea breeze, in showering in front of the sea or in letting light into every corner of the house.”

Vivir frente al mar
Architecture studio:
Project directors:
Javier Peña Galiano, Lola Jiménez Martínez
Design team:
Antonio Crevillén, Rodrigo Rodriguez, Javier Alascio
Pedro Del Real Mata, Marina Bolt
Antonio Reverte 90, Los Urrutias, Cartagena, Spain

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