This very afternoon Sierra Madre City Council candidate Andy Bencosme will be holding a campaign event in Sierra Madre. This in itself is notable since his quixotic effort to achieve elective office in the Foothill Village began with a campaign kickoff in Arcadia. Plus I think he planted some of his lawn signs there as well.
I know, I've mentioned that before. But it is nice that he has finally found his way home. Many were concerned. Now if he would just hold them when people aren't at work.
If you go to Andy's campaign Facebook page (link), you will notice that his event at 4PM today has been built around a discussion he is calling "Business Spotlight on Kubed Living." Or "Cargotecture," if you prefer something slightly more well known.
Apparently there is a business in town that advocates for (and coincidentally sells) homes made out of metal shipping containers. You know, the kind they put on those big cargo ships in Long Beach and send to Asia where they are then filled up with sporks, transmission fluid and replacement parts for dishwashers. Among other useful things.
According to Facebook nine people are planning to attend this event so far, and another five claim to be interested, though maybe not quite enough to actually go. So there should be plenty of room if you wish to take part.
Putting aside any discussion of societal decline and depressed community standards for today, what is Cargotecture, and why would this appeal to Andy? I thought we should give this a moment or two of consideration. After all, this guy could be running the city soon. You need to know what he thinks might a good idea for this town.
Back in 2011, when Cargotecture had first become a hot topic, the celebrated website Fine Homebuilding posted the following article. You can link to it here.
I’m sure you’ve seen a few of these projects, but have you ever considered them to be a viable building option? I’ve been stumbling upon more and more of these homes lately, and so I’ve been wondering: Do shipping containers make great homes, or are they just weird? I’ve decided my answer is … yes.
Yes, I think they make good homes, and yes they are rather weird and unconventional, which is a major part of their allure for me. To me, living in a converted metal shipping container demonstrates an open mindedness and a sense of creativity that seems to be severely lacking in a lot of homes. While shipping containers can be used to build larger homes, they seem like a great way to build an affordable, small home.
Of course, I’ve got questions. I wonder what my local building department would say of a plan to build with shipping containers (or how quickly they’d put the brakes on my project). I wonder what electrical and plumbing rough-in would be like. I also wonder if I have the design sense to make a shipping container look, feel and function like a real home, and not like some metal box that was plopped behind a mailbox.
Yeah, that would be a problem. Personally, I'd be very interested to hear what the Planning Commission might have to say about this. I think any applicant should anticipate some questions.
The Sierra Madre entrepreneurs advocating for Cargotecture locally call their outfit Kubed Living, and they have a website that you can look over by clicking here. They have posted some conceptual pictures of what these wickiups might look like, and they do seem interesting and easy on the eyes. Here are a couple.
That could dress up your backyard, I guess. I suppose they do look like a nice enough place to stash your mother-in-law. The aforementioned "Gran in a Can." Or maybe that special kid who decided he'd prefer to spend his life cultivating a weed habit rather than getting a job, or giving you grandkids.
But you know what? This being the real world and all, and taking into account that a lot of people don't really care that much about what the place they're living in looks like, how can you be sure you won't end up with do-it-yourselfer neighbors living in something that looks like this instead?
OK, who knows, right? Maybe it would look better with a Century 21 sign out front. And so you know, someday SCAG will probably force Sierra Madre to actually build some authentic low income RHNA housing. Like right after they have sent in the National Guard. So perhaps filling up a couple of lots with shipping containers will actually get them off of everybody's backs.
After all, there are a lot of available homeless people in LA County looking for city funded housing to go to. Maybe they actually could come and live somewhere around here. In Cargo Madre.
We could call that neighborhood Andyville.