As we've discussed here before, trading ships used to leave American east coast cities loaded up with goods and bound for Europe. They'd return loaded up with cobblestones--cheap, heavy, easily stackable--for ballast. They'd then ditch the stones here, load up with more goods, rinse and repeat. And our municipal forefathers used the cobblestone surplus to pave streets on the cheap.
From a surplus perspective, the modern-day equivalent to cobblestones is shipping containers, even though the trade balances have shifted. America receives tons of stuff from Asia in shipping containers, and once emptied, they're not worth the price of shipping them back. And as these things stack up, creative companies try to figure out what to do with them.
Most recently we've seen the Snoozebox shipping container mobile hotel, though that's a UK-based project. Stateside, we've got a company out of Texas called Falcon Containers that's doing something similar, but without the concierge: A mobile village for oil field workers in Texas' burgeoning Eagle Ford Shale.
"We wanted to design and provide a housing solution that would be cost effective, easy to set up and easy to move," said Stephen Shang, CEO, Falcon Containers. "The use of repurposed shipping containers in our mobile village design allows for the inclusion of unique structures for different purposes, each of which supports a comfortable living environment for these oil field work camp employees."
Temporary work camps have been created in growing numbers to support the overwhelmingly male workforce flooding into the oil drilling Texas region. A cross between a college dormitory and a military barracks, these structures include sleeper units housing multiple bunks, dining facilities, a separate laundry and shower unit as well as a multi-purpose office, recreation or first aid facility.
Some unsolicited advice for Falcon's PR team: Can you guys maybe call it something other than a "work camp?" What happened, was "gulag" already taken?