Monday, June 8, 2009

Thinking Inside the MuvBox

If you are a semi-regular reader of this blog you might suspect that I have a thing for compact homes. It has a little to do my belief in the need to reduce consumption of all kinds. A good way to start is by not building big-ass houses that needlessly consume precious resources.
An equal part of it, though, is a deeply ingrained love of treehouses and best of all childhood pleasures, the packing crate hideout.
So imagine how delighted I was to disover MuvBox, the shipping container snack bar designed by local entreprenneur Daniel Noiseux.
Noiseux has taken a basic reinforced steel maritime container and with a tweek here and there, created a turn-key resto. The sides flip down, to create a deck, tables are screwed in, counters folded out and, voìla, a working lobster shack is ready for action in about 90 seconds. Did I mention that it is solar powered?

Fantastic! If it wasn't pouring out, I'd head right down to the Quai des Eclusiers in the Old Port for a lobster roll and look around.
Fire-proof, earthquake-proof, rustproof, what other proof do we need that this is an idea whose time has come? The typical shipping container is six metres long, and 2.5 metres in width and height. When are we going to see locally designed MuvBox style homes take shape?
Seriously, when?
Montreal is justifiably proud to have been designated a UNESCO Design City, the first in North America. The designation recognizes the effort both public and private sector players put into promoting and conserving good design in la belle ville. Why not sponsor a contest in which architects and designers create a model shipping container community. Lord knows we've got vacant land in the city core.
After all, some could argue that Montreal took a step forward in world consciousness in 1967 when Moshe Safdie's Habitat 67 was unveiled during the World's Fair. Maybe its time we made another splash with another modular housing concept. Why not erect a demonstration MuvBox City at the foot of Peel St., near the Old Port?
Think of the fun cutting-age architects like YH2, LOEUF or Sid Lee Architecture could have with these durable and adaptable boxes?
London has already done this with Container City in the London Docklands, but Montreal, anoher port city with a surplus of old containers, could put its own spin on the idea.
For another take, check out this story on the U.S. firm that is building $8,000 container homes for the working poor in Juarez, Mexico.


  1. I know, it's the coolest idea ever. Wonder if they could be adapted for the endless numbers of concession stands at every festival all summer long?

  2. Why not dream bigger than festival season? Why not a housing co-op?

  3. I'm heading down there to see it next month when I'm in town. Wanna come?


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