The trout are biting in the pond next to Mario and Assunta Costantini’s one-of-a-kind home in the RM of Macdonald.
Mario stocked the pond with 400 rainbow trout this spring and fishes off his dock for the two-pound trout. Tomatoes are slowly ripening in Assunta’s vegetable garden. Even their dog’s kennel is made out of a small steel container.
It’s hard to believe that this homey little haven is located behind the offices of A.D.M. Storage and Mario’s Concrete in the Fort Whyte Business Park, which the Costantinis own, at 3000 McGillivray Blvd.
What’s more amazing is the couple’s unique 1,600-sq. ft. house constructed from six steel shipping containers. They moved in last December and over the past year, have discovered a few of the challenges that this type of structure presents in Manitoba’s variable climate.
"It’s done very well in the winter and summer," Mario said, adding that condensation has been something of a concern. Steel is a natural conductor for heat and cold, so using it as a building’s exterior certainly presents unique challenges.
Stacy Dyck, an architect with Number Ten Architecture Group, said Manitoba’s extreme weather presents more a challenge when building with steel containers. As a result, there must be a vapour-proof seal created between the outer steel shell and interior walls to prevent condensation.
She added that steel containers are actually environmentally-friendly as the steel itself is made of recycled components and the containers are repurposed.
"Plus they’re sturdy, and they can be stacked up like Lego blocks," she added.
The Costantinis’ home is the first large structure Mario designed, although his company renovates shipping containers for sale or rent to other businesses who use them as offices on construction sites. They can be easily transported and have been sent to locations as far away as Nunavut.
Mario’s latest project — a 2,000-sq. ft., two-storey office building — is nearing completion and will be used as his company headquarters and as a showpiece for his work.
Stepping inside the building scheduled to open in November, he points out the spray-on foam insulation that will provide a barrier between the steel exterior and the interior drywall.
After building his house, he learned how to efficiently work with the steel containers. Using this knowledge, he’s been able to reduce some of the costs associated with building his new offices.
Mario said he likes to dream big and his next project will be an 80-foot tower using use two containers stacked one on top of the other.
"We’ll be able to see all the way to Pembina Highway."