How Shipping Containers Can Help Puerto Rico’s Housing Crisis

Containers Housing Puerto Rico BeLatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of fastcompany.com

While many hardships are happening globally, Puerto Rico recently shared and developed a piece of brilliant news with an architectural innovation by Puerto Rican architect Carla Gautier Castro’s out-of-the-box idea: making homes out of sturdy shipping containers. 

After the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria in September 2017 that took the lives of a reported estimation of 3,057 people, there has been an urgent need for stronger living spaces that could withhold such tragedies as we dip more into the inevitable worldwide climate change. 

We can’t always predict the weather, but what we can do is prepare for the worst.

That’s what sparked the idea of Gautier Castro: the innovation to make a sustainable and affordable home space for her community after seeing the damage of that unforeseen tragedy. 

The idea stemmed from the need to avoid as much damage as possible from any future catastrophes, especially for Caribbean countries at higher risk of hurricanes. She wanted to help her community with what her people realistically earned in income and the resources Puerto Rico has. With this in mind, the idea of KONTi Design Built Studio was born.

KONTi was born as our team set up to find sustainable and resilient solutions that are also cost-effective for the majority of our population,” Gautier Castro’s Design Built Studio’s mission reads. “Using shipping containers as base structures, we have created housing, schooling, and multi-use facilities that are resilient to adverse climatic conditions, self-sustaining, and quickly deployable.” 

According to its website, KONTi has two models: the first featuring two bedrooms, one bathroom, PVC kitchen cabinets, security windows and doors, insulation, certified plans with the starting price at $39,000, and the second featuring three bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, PVC kitchen cabinets, security windows and doors, insulation, laundry, certified plans starting at the price of $120,000. The prices are set to be attainable by the median income estimation of Puerto Rico’s population.

To take it a step further, both models come with eco-friendly options and available add-ons such as solar energy and water collection systems. 

According to CNN, “The units are built in Puerto Rico using local labor and materials. A basic KONTi model can be built in less than two months,” which adds more backbone to the sense of pride Gautier Castro cultivates in the idea of a work done by the community for the community.