Containers Hawaii is in the unique and privileged position where the green movement converges with commerce. In fact, there is yet another aspect of art and architecture (cargotecture) that comes into play when shipping containers have been repurposed. Considering shipping containers are decommissioned after about 10 years of being exposed to the ocean environment that means every year old containers come onto the market asking to be recycled. All of the labor that goes into converting and modifying cargo containers are done on our Midway Street location. We employ 15 people to basically gut and convert the container into whatever a contractor may want. So as you can imagine our machine shop employs plenty of fabrication equipment including blow torches for welding, grinders, cutters, and tools for sheet metal bending.
All of these tools, that are run off of Hawaiian solar power, have been used to convert the unit depending on specifications given by the buyer or contractor. That can include cutting openings into walls to run electrical or install doors or windows. We’ve also been asked to install insulation and wi-fi. The storage containers have been purposed for almost anything: urban homes, shoppings malls, abstract art, concession stands, press boxes… you name it.
Since these containers are very durable and built for heavy duty transport it requires a staff specialized knowing how to handle steel. You can’t just hire a typical contractor that’s used to dealing with wood frame construction and dry wall. Before and after the conversion process the shipping container is cleaned by staff wearing gear suits, dust masks and goggles. The process usually starts simply with a heavy duty push broom then a pressure washer or sandblaster is used, making sure to hit the nooks and crannies of the unit. This process helps remove any loose rust or paint and will identify any areas for repair. Rust spots are further cleaned with vinegar, wire brushes, aluminum foil and cloths. Sometimes belt sanders are used for bigger projects. Once everything is dry we come back and hit the shipping container with a coat of primer followed by exterior paint.