Box House One

Modern, attainable housing for Lincoln, Nebraska

  • Type Residential
  • Location Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Area 1,200 s.f.
  • Status Construction Documents
  • Date 2016
  • Project Partners



FACT designed a series of single-family homes for the non-profit community development agency Neighborworks-Lincoln. Following the devloper’s wishes, the homes utilize repurposed shipping containers as primary structural and spatial components. Resisting the cliches of “shipping container homes”, the goal of the studio was to develop ways to use the containers efficiently and honestly, taking advantage of their inherent structural properties, avoiding costly modifications, and working critically with environmental contradictions of the type. Using 2 tall 40-foot containers as the only vertical structure, the 1,200 s.f. singlel-family residential program is split into stable and unstable functions. The stable program (bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen) is located in the minimally altered containers whereas the unstable program (loosely defined living area) occupies the space between the two boxes. A simple wood-truss roof spans the containers to enclose the central room and cover a front porch. A storage container and carport form the back wall of a private courtyard.

Box House One was featured in the exhibition FACT 24: NEw Attainable House A printed catalog published by Actual FACT Books is now available.

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Cross-section perspective & view of common area

Located on South 8th Street in the historic core of Lincoln, Nebraska, the house is subject to district design guidelines including a requirement for a covered front porch and a pitched roof. After conducting an analysis of the various roof types found in the neiborhood, FACT sought and received Urban Design Review approval for the low-slope roof proposed. To create a front porch, we offset the two containers allowing the roof to cantivelver over the open southwest corner of the house, creating a 6-foot deep front porch and welcoming public entry. By design the house conforms to established setbacks.

Courtyard view

East-West section perspective

Floor plan from construction documents


Box House One design team

The Challenges of Experimental Housing

Designed for a lot on South 8th Street in Lincoln, NE, this was to be the first house built by FACT. Despite obtaining City approvals construction funding the developer was unable to secure a 30-year fixed rate bank mortgage for potential owners due to the lack of comps. The project remains unbuilt, but FACT is seeking new developers or owners and a new site for the prototype. In 2020-2021 the project will serve as the prelude to a new set of affordable homes to be designed by FACT in partnership with various non-profit organizations. See related affordable house prototypes in the NEw Attainable House project.

Box House One was featured as part of “Nebraska’s Housing Stories”, an exhibition running in parallel with the the traveling show “Evicted” at the Nebraska History Museum. The exhibition continued as part of FACT’s NEw Attainable House exhibition throughout 2021 and was reviewed in the Journal of Architectural Education.

Project Team

Box House One: Travis Barrett, Sean Coffey, Jacob Doyle, Kathryn Horn, Nick May, Carolina Preciado
Box House Two: Thomas Blair, Alexander Eastman, Jakeb Geisert, Connor Greiss, Marcelus Kipruto, Nathan Moulds, Anna O’Neill, Michael Seager, Steven Severson, Scott Smith, Caitlin Tangeman, Salem Topalovic

Photography By model photography by Larry Gawel
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