Archive for March 2011

A Pod Container Push Button House by Adam Kalkin

A Pod Container Push Button House by Adam Kalkin

Container with drop down sides creating a instant house, not sure if I would want to sleep with no walls though?

Cargotecture by Hybrid Architecture Container Home

Cargotecture by Hybrid Architecture Container Home

Nice design with sliding wall to seal container when not in use

MLA report on libraries

The Voices for the Library website has recently posted a link to a MLA report on library authorities in the north of England which was obtained via a Freedom of Information request originally made by “Save Doncaster Libraries”. In this report (dated December 2010) library authorities are rated red, amber or green, based upon the plans they have for their library services and the concerns the MLA have for them. Red = ”High uncertainty and / or change. And / or poor capacity to address change”. Amber = “Medium uncertainty and / or change. And / or limited capacity to address change”. Green = “Low uncertainty and / or change. And / or good capacity to address change”.  I have reproduced the entries for the Yorkshire and Humberside authorities below. These of course are a snapshot of MLA's opinion in December last year and much has changed since then. In most cases I have edited out references specifically to museum services but the overall rating does refer to both sectors.

Doncaster (Red) : Previously a poor performing service. Now taking action to turn things round and meet C&E, but is aware of the distance to travel to keep this transformation on track, particularly at the same time as wider cuts. MLA has supported the council to produce a strategy; service point assessment matrix; community consultation and member briefings. Strategy now to go to Cabinet in January. Subject to approval it commits to recruiting HoS; investment in training of staff; rationalisation of service points – relocation rather than loss where appropriate and investing in remaining poor building stock. The service is likely to come under different directorate and officer when senior staff review is completed. Uncertainty as to which of remaining library trained staff will take voluntary redundancy. Council has attracted interest of national library campaigners, with some local campaigning. Participating in Yorkshire-wide review of mobile services. Museums undertaking MA-funded collections rationalisation. Admission charges introduced – model needs refinement. Poor staff capacity.

Barnsley (Green) : Museum, library and archive service remains split across different directorates. Currently 18 libraries, 6 co-located with customer service centres. Since 2008/9 implementing service improvement plan - results seen in users experience, profile of service and limited cuts to date. Success at last months Y&H local government awards - Library officer won ‘public service employee of the year’. Officers pressured to close libraries. Plans are being developed - local press have speculated the loss of 8 service points. Report due to cabinet December. The SoS letter was well- timed in supporting officers ensuring community needs assessment was undertaken. Participating in Yorkshire-wide review of mobile services. Town hall museum and archive capital development underway due to open 2012. Aim to maintain exisitng museum staff, absorbing vacancies and achieveing sustainability through significantly increasing income by year 3 and 4.

Sheffield (Amber) : Decision making process is not clear cut: Libraries moved directorate mid budget planning process, but still reporting to old portfolio; hung council multiplying decision scenarios; May elections. At present c30% cuts: 2011-12 £1.5m; 2012-13 £0.5m; 2013-4 £0.5m. Options range from loss of 14 libraries and most mobiles, but increased hours at other service points to no mobiles and service-wide reduced opening hours across. Community-run service points likely to be taken forward.

Rotherham (Green): Central library, regimental museum and art gallery are due to move from current building and reopening in ground floor of new council offices by March 2011. This integration of museum, library and archives services will improve coherence customer experience. And its collocation with council service point will also result improve efficiency, e.g. shared staffing; children’s activities and after school clubs. Currently revising library strategy. Elsewhere a small number of service points may be proposed for closure / relocation. Participating in Yorkshire-wide review of mobile services.

Calderdale (Amber) : Culture is likely to be cut disproportionately to protect other services. Council sought views of the public on what services they would prioritise – small sample of responses with libraries in top half of priorities. New BLF King Cross library demonstrating value of investment in right places. Have made savings so far – staff review in consultation – will lose 12% posts, including managers. Proposals for second phase of savings in February. Previous library changes have met with vocal protest. Strong community infrastructure gives potential for alternative service delivery. Currently heavily reliant on income stream from excellent sound and vision lending service – need to replace this income stream. Participating in Yorkshire-wide review of mobile services.

Kirklees (Amber) : Closures proposed, but decisions not taken yet. Currently scoping 25% cuts over 3 years (15% in year 1). Proposals to all party ‘star chamber’ in December. Solutions rely heavily on community-run service points. Kirklees already delivers one library through a local social enterprise. Calm and methodical approach at present. Leading Yorkshire-wide review of mobile services. Signficant cuts to museum premises anticipated, but location of service introducing political dimension to decision making.

Leeds (Green) : Will consult on reducing service points from 53 to 33 service points (20 of these are only open 8-15 hours per week, which does not maximise use of resource. Staff restructure is central to this has been undertaken. It was intended to undertake public consultation starting in October. However, the council called in the plans. They will now go to exec on 16th December, and then if passed out to consultation. The aim is to implement any changes from April. Participating in Yorkshire-wide review of mobile services.

Wakefield (Amber) : As part of the strategic review closures are proposed and the council recently issued an open invitation to community groups and partners across the area asking for expressions of interest in running service points. Response has not yet been overwhelming and has included expressions form commercial companies. The service is also reviewing its provision to schools and prisons. And exploring how it could integrate more fully with other cultural services. Participating in Yorkshire-wide review of mobile services.

North East Lincolnshire (Amber): Participating in FLP cross regional project led by Lincolnshire. Options for future service delivery are up the air following Monday’s announcement (7.1% cuts anticipated, but 8.9% confirmed). Further information available on proposed approach by the end of the week.

North Lincolnshire (Green): Cuts comparatively manageable at present.

North Yorkshire (Amber): BLF-funded Harrogate Library recently reopened to great success with residents queuing to get in and its new ebook service is proving popular. Clear strategic direction from officers and political awareness of the role of the service. Proposals for a new delivery models have been developed. The council is aim is to maintain a core infrastructure of 18 libraries, 2-3 in each district, which have 80% of the users and 70% of the issues. Alongside this the council has been piloting a range of community library models. It is now consulting with local people on how 24 of these smaller and largely rural service points will be delivered in future. Public consultation runs to early February with decisions in early March, ready for implementation asap in 2011/12. Participating in Yorkshire-wide review of mobile services.

Kingston upon Hull (Amber): Amber as waiting further information about muserum cuts - likely to lead to significant changes. Renaissnace plans submitted. Looking to merge library services with customer services, with customer service centres moving into current library buildings. At present no library service points are proposed for closure. Aiming to create integrated service rather than coexistence. Also developing website to ensure quality access 24/7. Decision timetable keeps changing – now January. Currently working to 22% across the board, 40-50% in some areas, but making business case for savings achieved form amalgamation. If further savings are required posts will go. Participating in Yorkshire-wide review of mobile services.

East Riding (Green): Exploring opportunities for diversifying income and increasing outcome focus, e.g. being commissioned to deliver health and wellbeing outcomes and personalisation. Clear strategic approach to cultural services from officers. Strong political support for cultural service at present. May elections. As a rural service is a key player in the Yorkshire-wide review of mobile services.

York (Green): Renaissance plans submitted - stong sense of direction.

LISRC announces review

The Library and Information Science Research Coalition (LISRC), which is now two years old, has announced a review of its value and impact.

The review will be conducted by Ian Wooler and co-Editor of BIR Sandra Ward.

A questionnaire, which should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete, will be published on the LISRC website next week and will be available until 8th April 2011.


External Dimensions

  • Length: 20'  (6.09 Meters)
  • Width: 8'  (2.44 Meters)
  • Height: 8' - 6"  (2.6 Meters)


Food Storage and Production
2 important areas to cover, Growing some food and storing some food.

My aim is to make a unit that is self supporting for 2 persons for between 6months and a year, that means storing and growing food is essentiall.

I have already established an aquaponics system, and have to say its a very good method of food production with little to no maintenance and self contained. 
A large tank built in the door way would be pumped into trays attached to the doors that would grow the plants, the fish would be edible too usually something like Talipia or perch which are plate size in about 10 months.

After having chooks (chickens) on my balcony I dont think I will bother with them, they take a lot of effort and resources for little output, haven't kept rabbits yet but think for protein they would be an easier alternative as they dont make a noise or mess or smell and breed well like rabbits!
The other Important thing is store lots of food, I want to design storage within the kitchen units and maximize the space. But remember! "Store what you Eat! and Eat what you store" as Jack at the survival podcast is always saying!
I have gone off canned goods and now prefer Dehydrated as a storage method, its easy cheap and fun to do, I now just grab corn, Carrots, and peas from my dried stored containers and add to packet soups all the time, so much easier and long lasting, oh and lighter and not as bulky.
Or you can buy preprepared MREs and other types, check out Bee Prepared Products for some great MRP's


would like to make optional cladding panels that can be taken out of the container and mounted once at site!

Couple of cool cladding ideas

apart from a drop down deck from the drawbridge and another from end doors would be nice to bridge the gap too

Would also like to make a kit that clips gutters on roof to collect rainwater and grow a green roof

Semi Buried
If I was placing it in a permanent position I would Ideally like to build a rock basket wall that slopes to the roof level on back and sides to insulate and obscure from view, especially with a green roof



Bamboo Flooring

I like the nice natural look of Bamboo which is also a very sustainable wood

Ikea has some very universal well made basic set ups in many different colors and styles for a sensible price


I will probably fit out the kitchen with Caravan/RV/Boat appliances as they are designed for low energy consumption and more compact size

All in one sealed bathroom unit

Doubles as a couch then pulls down to a bed, very effective and space saving

another example but a display unit that turns into bed

nice looking small clean interior

sofa fold down bed

Hot and Cold

Heating And Cooling
The most important part of heating and cooling goes back to how well you insulate the container, my guess is the better the job the less energy need to heat and cool.
For larger place I would consider making it a Passive Haus, and include a heat exchanger
Basically the warm air going out heats the cold air coming in and vise versa, a well insulated passive hause will hardly need any additional heat.

One idea I had looked into is Geothermal for cooling.
A trench dug deeper than 6 feet and as long as you can make it with just a coil of pipe laid in, this would use the stableized cold ground temperature to cool air in pipe, the longer it travels threw pipe the better its going to cool, anyway a simple connection to the front of container, once drawbridge is down and a small fan you can suck the warm air from ceiling height threw the pipe and return it as cool air, very simple but I think it will work in a small area very well.

A simple heating method providing you have some sun is to use a solar heater, I have made one from soda cans that works very well.

A very simple A/C unit made from a frozen water bottle would provide a short term fix to cooling.
Another great heat source is the Rocket stove, although I dont like the idea of a fire burning indoors
but I have Sean examples where these type of heaters can create a lot of stored head by using stone benches and passing the neat threw them and retain the heat releasing slowly into home. would be great in very cold regions.
Very simple fuel fire is using Ethanol, it burns clean with no fumes or smoke and gives out a good heat, I have one in my apartment.

Home Interior Minimalist Designs Ideas


Although I think its impractical to use inside a container the principal would be good to filter gray water for plants and washing.

Like to incorporate some water storage tanks for drinking and cooking some where inside the furniture or maybe the floor itself would also insulate it?

Water bladder type storage would be idea in the wall or ceiling of the bathroom, I like idea of ceiling but realize some reinforcing will be needed, but could gather rain water from roof of container and solar ledge to the bladder used for natural force shower and washing then filtered for re use in aquaponic system?
Some water facts!
Water weighs 1kg per Litre
1000ltr tank = 1 ton in weight.
1mm of rain per SQ Meter = 1Ltr of water

Not forgetting some water filters on all kitchen uses, the Caravan/ RV and boat market will be a good place to research this need.