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Hydraulic doors transform containers in retrotronic shelters

Comparing their work to reanimating a corpse, Matthew Quilty and Adam Kalkin* believe in giving new life to unused shipping containers. They have turned these industrial corpses into homes, mobile kitchens/cafes, and event spaces.

“In the United States today there are about a half a billion containers just sitting there, about 70% of those are in light or no use,” explains Quilty from the Central New Jersey warehouse where Industrial Zombie’s transformations take place. “It makes so much more sense to recycle something that has been made for another purpose and upcycle it for another purpose rather than starting from scratch.”

By adding elements like glass garage doors or actuators, but preserving most of the structure, they try to transform what to many are “unsightly, inexpensive” objects into art and architecture. There’s the 12-container vacation home in Maine, the five-container $150,000 Quik House and the one-container Push-Button House that unfolds in seconds from closed container to modern pop-up home art piece.

“People don’t really understand how to use containers. They look at containers and they think of them as unsightly, inexpensive,” explains Quilty. “What we’re trying to make a ding in the architecture world, we’re trying to softly make a statement that there’s a different way to do things.”