An energy efficient container home in Johannesburg

Request quote

Invalid number. Please check the country code, prefix and phone number
By clicking 'Send' I confirm I have read the Privacy Policy & agree that my foregoing information will be processed to answer my request.
Note: You can revoke your consent by emailing privacy@homify.com with effect for the future.

An energy efficient container home in Johannesburg

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Off the grid house Johannesburg:  Houses by A4AC Architects,
Loading admin actions …

A4AC Architects is a first-rate architectural firm located in Johannesburg. It might be a young company, but when it comes to experience and portfolio pieces, the firm definitely knows what it’s talking about. After all, it deserves credit for creating one of the most talked-about modern residential structures in Gauteng: an off-the-grid container home in Northcliff. This is definitely an eye-catching design that challenges the conventional notions of what a house should be in our day and age. But before we discover said house, a bit more on the professionals in charge…

A4AC Architects offers a wealth of services for clients, from architectural plans and interior designs to construction documentation and management services. One look at its growing portfolio will showcase numerous residential, commercial and community projects. A4AC Architects is also known for specialising in alternative construction methods such as container construction and light-weight steel framing. 

Let’s discover this out-of-the-box, lightweight, and energy-efficient home!

A tricky construction site

Iconic house view:  Houses by A4AC Architects,
A4AC Architects

Iconic house view

A4AC Architects

This off-grid, off-cliff house was pre-manufactured off site while the site works were being finalised. The utilisation of the site up-cycled the land because the house is not using up any new land. Instead, it is making use of unused space on existing ground.

For the concept for this build, a sensitive approach was taken. Without disturbing the natural landscape and infrastructure, the design concept of touch the earth lightly was adopted. This concept elevates the house on site and ensures an ambience for the residents of hovering amongst the trees, resulting in a first-class view of the Johannesburg cityscape—a view that definitely would not have been possible had the house been constructed on the ground.

A contemporary (and cantilevered) design

Off the grid house South Africa:  Houses by A4AC Architects,
A4AC Architects

Off the grid house South Africa

A4AC Architects

The large cantilever over the existing driveway was achieved by upcycling old shipping containers, which were also selected due to them being ready-made structural elements. The single-level house maximises space on site while also eliminating foundations. 

The lightweight steel structure was selected due to its economy, low-wastage, lightness and versatility. And just like the containers, the concrete footing was limited.

After the shipping container was prepared, it was used to transport the rest of the house's structural elements to the site.

In less than a day, the container (along with the structure) was delivered and placed on site.

Solar studies

Off the grid house Johannesburg:  Houses by A4AC Architects,
A4AC Architects

Off the grid house Johannesburg

A4AC Architects

Solar- and shading studies were conducted to ensure all habitable rooms would enjoy sufficient lighting and solar heating, ensuring more practical and comfortable interior spaces.

The western- and eastern facades have small openings in the form of elongated windows. Much more generous glass structures were ensured for the northern facade to ensure a wealth of incoming natural light / sunshine.

Occupying space

Dual functionality was the name of the game for the interiors. Hence, the roof which also functions as a patio, plus the passage serving as a buffer zone between the social- and private spaces while also being used as a study / home office.

Two unique zones in one home

The house was designed in two zones:

• one which contains the private spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms,

• and another which can be called the social zone which houses the entertainment- and living spaces.

The heart of the home, the kitchen, is the meeting spot between these two zones.

An affordable energy-efficient house

Container kitchen:  Kitchen by A4AC Architects,
A4AC Architects

Container kitchen

A4AC Architects

In essence, this modern house contains a few steel products, soft finishes, and limited concrete footing—quite the unique combination to create a sustainable and totally comfortable living space for the 21st century.

Read more:

9 things you should know before building a container home

How much do shipping container homes cost in South Africa?

Shipping containers: The best option for a second home in Johannesburg


Does this modern, container-house structure strike you as a dream home?
 Houses by Casas inHAUS,

Need help with your home project?
Get in touch!

Discover home inspiration!