Category Archives: Design

2011 Process

Time flies..  I can not believe how quickly time passes.  Anyway, here are some more process photos of the Holyoke cabin.

Once the floor had a coat of finish on it we went ahead and cut some openings into the blue container.  This one is for the kitchen.


We then framed the interior out (walls and ceiling), insulated with rigid foam (2″ in the walls and 4″ in the ceiling) and added a vapor barrier for extra protection.  You can see we have also added some wiring for the low voltage lighting.IMG_0229 IMG_0228With framing complete we clad the entire framed areas with birch veneer plywood.  We pre-finished this at home during the week to keep things moving along on the weekends..
P1000520By the end of 2011 we had all the interior clad and had started setting kitchen cabinets.  We used the old propane range in the kitchen, this came out of the original travel trailer we had long ago vacated.  It cleaned up quite well and still works like a charm.

P1000527 P1000529The next post we will cover more interior finishing.


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ReadyMade Photo Shoot

On Monday January 21, 2008 my brother, Jackson (gsp) and myself had a photo shoot at the cabin for the magazine ReadyMade.  The high temp Monday was somewhere around 5º F. Really, really cold.  The driveway was only plowed to the gate so we had to bring everything needed in on sled the rest of the way, about 1/2 of mile through about two feet of sugar snow.

The loll guys Greg, Nate and Frank (spaniel)  joined us and brought some furniture along to spruce up the space.

We shared some beers while trying to stay warm.

We had a good time and wrapped it all up around 6:30.

Watch the March 2008 issue for a little story and a photo or two…

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More History

To start Sarah and I welded up the frame, sashes and jamb.  Then the following week we added the finer details like hinges, hardware and paint.  So last week we finally did it.  We cut the hole.  It seemed like this day was never going to come and when it did we were apprehensive to do it.  It is hard to cut a hole in something so pure knowing that there is no looking back.  So after many iterations of measuring and marking and making certain “this is where we want it” we jumped in.  Like everything else the actual cut was simple and anti-climatic. ImageImage

 Once the cut was complete, wow!  completely transformed the space on the interior and the exterior seems to come alive.ImageImageImage

After sitting and staring at the new hole we had to get back to work as the rain was coming….  Prepped the new opening and fitted the window assembly and began welding.


Once all the welding was complete we primed the whole deal.  No sooner did the primer dry did it start to rain.  Anxious to complete the project that weekend we tented the window off, dried everything and continued to paint.

ImageWe had to leave the tent up overnight as it was too humid for the paint to dry and the rain never stopped…

Sunday morning came and we took down the tent and masking and installed the sashes.  After a long day on Saturday it was nice to see the progress complete.


Up next, framing the interior of Red….

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Holyoke Cabin History

We had this posted on our Hive Modular site a while back but since have shut that site down.  Anyway here is a quick re-hash..

My father and his brother bought the property for hunting in 1970.  The purchase consisted of (2) 20-acre lots split between the two of them.  More recently we began leasing an adjacent 139 acres.  The land is about two hours North of the Twin Cities in a very small community called Holyoke. The land has several ravines and hills with equal amounts of fields and prairie.  Hunting was my father’s and uncle’s original intention for the land.  As my cousins, brother and I grew up the land started to take on different uses for all of us.  At a young age we all started riding motocross bikes, creating trails, jumps and tracks.  Once we got a little older the land was too small for the bikes we were riding and the kind of riding we were interested in, we used the land as a home base for all the single track in the area.  More recently we have been slowly restoring and rehabbing the land to bring it back to a natural state, we still have bikes though but with the construction of the cabin and everything else we have little time to get out and enjoy.  I will save the topic riding for another post.

Since my father’s passing in the early 90’s my brother Scott Stankey, his wife Krista, my wife Sarah Nordby (girlfriend at the time) and I decided to build a new cabin/weekend home as the 1940’s trailer home is literally falling apart and being taken over by nature.  The trailer was very cool, all birch interior with nice built-ins, but time took its toll.  We started researching different building methods and materials with the focus on reuse and longevity as the budget was nonexistent and we wanted it to last.  We also were looking at solutions that would be able to handle the wild seasonal changes and the intolerable rodent problem.  Sarah (girlfriend at the time) and I lived near a train yard with stacks and stacks of shipping containers.  As we would talk we could not help think of the possibility of shipping containers for a structure.  I started looking into the purchase of a container and realized how affordable it could be.  So once the initial research was completed I approached my brother with the idea.  He was intrigued and we pursued it further.  I started doing some drawings and some space analysis of what will actually work in an 8’ space. and running them past everyone and Scott called around and found two 20’ used containers for $800 each.  Before the design could be completely hammered out we needed to solidify what we really needed in the cabin.  We came up with a rough program consisting of really just rooms, we were not really concerned about size too much as we were coming out of an old trailer.  The program we came up with for the cabin was to include a kitchen, dining room, living room, wash and clothes area, and two queen beds.

Once we all decided this is the way we wanted to go and had a pretty good idea of what this was going to look like we had to come up with a way to get them from Minneapolis to Holyoke.  At the time I had a beat up Ford diesel truck that I thought could do it. I rented a flatbed trailer and met my brother at the train yard.  We loaded up the first box and made our way up.  My bother followed me in his truck running defense in traffic.  We made it up in one piece and with little trouble.  Once on the property we needed to unload the 5000-pound box.  We first tried to pull the container off the trailer by me pulling forward and with my brother’s truck pulling the container other direction; this resulted in my truck pulling my brothers. We then devised a system using heavy gauge pipe and a rope.  We jacked up the boxes high enough to get the pipes between the bed of the trailer and the bottom of the container.  Once we had about 15 pipes under the full length we tied the container to my brothers truck again but left his truck in park with the handbrake engaged.  I started my truck and proceeded to drive forward thus pulling the trailer out from under the container.  This resulted in a loud noise but a successful drop.  The second container was a snap as most of the details were worked out after dealing with the first one.

Once we decided on the exact location we rented an excavator and dug the footings.  The following weekend Sarah, Scott and I formed, mixed and poured the footings and piers.Image

Two weeks after we began the process of moving the containers on to the piers.  We aligned the containers Image with the pier locations and jacked them up on used railroad ties.  Once the containers we cribbed up to the appropriate height and aligned with the piers we used the same techniques we used to get the containers off the trailer.Image

We attached one end of a come-along to a tree and the other to one of the containers.  Under the containers we used the pipes as wheels again and slowly moved them into place.Image

We moved a container a weekend.  Once they were in place we removed the cribbing and welded them into place.  From there the rest is pretty self-explanatory..ImageImageImage

A couple things to note about the whole process and the current state; we have no electricity, we used a generator or hand power, and we have no running water so mixing concrete was achieved by pumping water from our creek 1/4 mile away and trucking it to the build site and mixing in an electric mixer powered by a generator.  All windows and hardware were homemade; we set the insulated glass into frames we welded on-site.Image

When complete the interior walls and ceilings will be finished in birch plywood, to match the trailer’s original feel and look.  We will have a full 12v lighting system with a gas light back up.  The 12v system will be replenished via a small array of PV’s.  The downspout will be hooked up to a cistern to collect all rain from roof.  This will supply us with a gray-water system.


I will continue to update this project as we pass major steps in the process.


Filed under Architecture, Container Architecture, Design, Exotic Architecture

Container Atlas

For a while now, containers architecture has slowly been popping up around the globe.  With the growing number of projects its becoming harder and harder to keep up with all the great designs.  Luckily Prof. Hans Slawik, a faculty of Architecture and Landscape Sciences at Liebniz University Hanover, has managed to create an amazing book, Container Atlas, compiling all sorts of projects from public buildings, offices in warehouses, commercial/corporate architecture, various housing types, low budget architecture, exhibitions, art installations and even buildings trying to emulate the container look.  We are honored to have IMD partner Paul Stankey’s project be among the likes of LOT-EK, Shigeru Ban and Luc Deleu.

We highly recommend perusing a copy of Container Atlas, a book full of general information on containers, as well as great photographs and drawings.  The first section of the book consists of several great essays on topics ranging from the history of the container, to the construction physics of containers to the ecological aspects of container construction.  This book is as much about substance as it is about showing great images of shipping container designs from northern Minnesota to New Zealand.


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Ceramic Speakers

Last week’s post about the Tafelstukken light fixtures reminded me of a beautiful set of speakers by artist/designer Joey Roth.  Just like the Tafelstukken, Roth makes his speakers from a simple materials pallet of ceramic, wood and electric wires.  The only thing left is to figure out how they sound. 


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Dutch design team Daphna Isaacs Burggraaf and Laurens Manders of Daphna Laurens created the Tafelstukken, beautiful lighting fixtures and center pieces made from oak and ceramic.  These great fixtures even won a DMY award in Berlin for their simple, playful and well crafted pieces.


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