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  • Shruti Saxena

To Think Out of the Box

A shipping container home - An Orange Box for Pardiwala Family at Zirad @ Maharashtra

The phrase "think out of the box" gets a whole new meaning with architect Hrishikesh More’s project of a shipping container house- The Orange Box, located in a small village called Zirad between Mandwa and Alibaug, Maharashtra.

House Picture
The Orange house against the sky hues. Photo Credits @Mishal Pardiwala

Designed and built for patrons from Mumbai, the Pardiwala family, Mishal and Mikhail, requested a sustainable vacation home while participating in its construction with zest and passion for coming up with a green project that can eventually be their workplace when they shift to Alibaug one day.

Apart from being a farmhouse for the clients, it also needed to substantiate as an artist’s retreat or a workshop holding space for the eco-friendly clothing and product making company - TREEWEAR. The conceptualisation resulted in using something unconventional for a home, such as shipping containers. The house is an archetype for sustainable architecture meticulously using the site, the material and resources available.

Night view of the house
The Container Home at Zirad | Alibaug | Maharashtra for Pardiwala Family. Photo Credits @ Mishal Pardiwala


The arrangement of three out of six- 40ft by 8ft shipping containers is staggered at the ground floor, comprises the bedroom, living and dining space, and the kitchen. Three similar-sized containers are placed perpendicularly to the bottom, creating the second bedroom and a bar/den area. The house has four bathrooms, and each bedroom connects with the outside through individual balconies.

The project did outset by joining two containers at longer sides and cutting out the sheet in the middle, giving the living room some double-height loftiness and connecting lower and upper levels visually within the house. Natural light flooding through the glass façade further illuminates the home.

Floor Plan of the House. Drawings copyright with the Client & Architect Hrishikesh More
Sections of the House. Drawings copyright with the Client & Architect Hrishikesh More

As architect More states - "The time frame of construction is the key feature in such structures. Because of modularity, they can be built quickly, but need a lot of precision and a skilled workforce for execution. Compared to other recycled or eco-friendly materials, shipping containers are more durable and tough." (1)


The house’s orientation is planned around without disrupting the existing landscape that created a central open sky courtyard within the Orange box. Also, it reduces the heat gain through the steel structure.

With the house built over slightly raised land, dealing with the summer heat was another task. the orientation of the house did facilitate the use of the wind (a constant force there) in their favour, the clients placed the containers to facilitate the funnel effect that helped to ventilate the space better because of the pressure transmission.

The Central courtyard facilitating ventilation within the house. Photo Credits @Mishal Pardiwala
The North west facade - double height living room area. Photo credits @ Mishal Pardiwala

The living room’s double-height glass window faces the North-West direction capturing the diffused light to penetrate within. Bedrooms face the South-West direction designed with narrow openings that cut down the heat gain into the rooms.

As the south and the west facade heat up more, to avoid heat transfusion through the face, utility services like toilet blocks and semi-covered terraces are designed as a buffer. Also, the existing trees like Babul and Neem are dense and tall enough to filter the heat within.


Explaining the advantages, Mishal and architect More says, “Compared to other recycled or eco-friendly materials, shipping containers are more durable and tough. Every time a container is recycled, thousands of kilos worth of steel get repurposed. The best part is that no other building materials like bricks or cement are required when using a container, which reduces the overall carbon footprint.” (2)

The rainwater collection in an underground water tank with an open chain drain system through an inverted funnel-like roof is another conscious effort by the family to maintain the project’s ‘go green’ theme and WPC flooring (recycled wood plastic composite material). Their parents having some architectural background, did help them to work around retaining all trees at the site and using natural boulders as landscape elements around the house.

The open drain system installed for rain water collection within the court. Photo Credits @Mishal Pardiwala

The containers are well insulated to tackle the external heat transmission creating a soothing environment to live within. The insulation layer uses a 4” glass wool sandwiched in the walls panelled and painted, appearing like masonary walls. Also, as Alibaug has almost three to four months of monsoon, the house has a soundproofing layer inserted between the panelled walls to block out the sound of rain beating against the metal exterior.

Overlooking Passage
The corrugated play of light within.
Interconnecting spaces
The panelled walls with insulation

While the family’s goal was to see how far they could push themselves, they regard this Orange Box journey as one of their learning experience. Mishal quotes - “I think people will not be able to tell that it was made from containers; it will appear as a unique house. The aim was to showcase that one could achieve a really good finish while recycling a product. No plastering required; you just have to be mindful of where you want to put in things.” (3)

  • Fact wallet:

Project Name: The Orange Box

Year Built: 2019

Architect: HM-Architects, Thane

Location: Zirad, Alibaug , Maharshtra

Built-area:3000 - 5000 sq.ft.

Principal Architect: Architect Hrishikesh More

Budget: $5M-10M

Photographs credit and copyright with the source, client and architect.

Interior Photo Credits @ Pallavi More

To know more about the architect visit their website


  1. Refer to Article by Thakrar T. ( May 29, 2020) at

  2. Refer to Article by Thakrar T. ( May 29, 2020) at

  3. Refer to quote at

  4. Further reads at

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