A prototype hybrid house, also known as the Tim Palen Studio at Shadow Mountain is the first repurposed container home permitted and built in the Mojave Desert. Based on the fuel-efficient Prius automobile engineering concept, the residence combines the energy and production efficiencies of diverse pre-engineered building and energy systems working together seamlessly to produce a smooth-running hybrid green machine for living.

The residence is a prototype of 2nd generation pre-fab design and a kit-like housing product developed by ecotechbuild, the design-build subsidiary of ecotechdesign. It is constructed from 5-20′ long recycled cargo containers that were fabricated and finished in Los Angeles and then shipped to the site where they were erected and stacked 2 high in 15 minutes each. All site work, including foundations and utility placement was constructed at the remote desert site during container fabrication in Los Angeles.

The residence is the 1 bedroom, 1-1/2 bath, 2 story model hybridhouse_1 design that has been adapted for a media client who required a separate photo studio and storage building. The studio is constructed of a Butler pre-engineered steel building with plug-in cargo container storage. It is naturally daylite with 22″ dia. Solutubes, which can be manually controlled and temperature balanced using efficient, dimmable strip lighting.

The container residence and the pre-engineered, steel studio structure act as two bookends that support framing and, in turn a perforated metal shade canopy that wraps the container’s roof, south-facing steel walls and the dramatic 20′ high outside living space, aka solar breezeway to provide protection against desert heat, glare, wind and blowing sand. The breezeway, in turn moderates and then directs a flow of air through the container spaces to enhance passive cooling. A naturally lit, steel-clad stair structure connects the 2 level stacked containers and doubles as a 20′ story high photo gallery in which to display artwork.

Other unique features include:

  • Hybrid House Design: based on the efficient Prius engineering concept, the hybrid house concept combines diverse, pre-engineered building and energy conservation features to maximize efficiency and cost savings, while offering architectural design flexibility and variation.
  • All Recycled Steel Construction: the project is composed of diverse components, including: (6) repurposed ISO cargo containers, a Butler pre-engineered building, a 10,000 gal. storage tank, at solar shade canopy and an integrated steel framing system that provides extraordinary strength, earthquake, fire and wind protections, as well as large window and door openings to maximize natural daylighting, ventilation and cooling.
  • Solar Home Shading System: a bolt-on, adjustable steel frame and perforated metal shade system creates 50% solar heat, glare and wind reduction on the building and solar breezeway and allows for the plug-in attachment of future solar electric and water heating panel arrays.
  • Living Roof System: movable, bolt and add-on modules use greywater irrigation and are planted with native desert plants and sedums to absorb heat, glare, dust and CO2.
  • Water Conservation: integrated greywater for irrigation, water harvesting and storage systems.
  • Energy Conservation: an innovative steel framework allows for the placement of a “cool roof” and insulation system and a triple wall insulation system combine to create a building envelope that exceeds California energy code requirements by 50%. All appliances, fixtures and heating systems are Energy Star rated.
  • Reduced Costs: Finished construction costs, including footings and sitework was $150/SF, far below construction costs for comparable pre-fab or manufactured home construction.