‘Iron houses’: container kitnets in Fortaleza will receive the first residents in August – Ceará


a condominium of kitchenettes made from containers appeared, “overnight” in the eyes of the neighborhood, on Rua Tenente Benévolo, in Fortaleza, and should receive the first residents next week. With shorter execution time, the work also had a 40% reduction in costs.

There are 20 houses divided into 3 different sizes: 15m², 18m² and 30m². The kitnets, with thermal insulation and painting to protect the effects of the sun, are inaugurated in a context of few constructions made in this modality. The condo has 2 floors.

“The residents are delighted, I receive WhatsApp (with curiosities) from so many people, and someone has already come asking us to do it for him”, says the owner, David Rodrigues, 40 years old.

Residencial Gerardo Campos, named in honor of David’s grandfather, is in the last finishes of painting and renovation of the sidewalk. In the midst of this process, the first objects of the changes and plants that should decorate the place arrive.

But all this movement to live “in iron houses”, in the heat of Ceará? “All containers have thermal insulation, which can be made of wide styrofoam and glass wool, plus the structure that can be drywall or PVC, which I put in the kitnets”, he explains.

The condominium project was made by an engineer, an architect and with the support of a company to adaptation of containers of 2x12m. Metal blocks were acquired in Porto do Pecém, but not easily.

Subtitle: Structure received painting to avoid wear from the sun

Photograph: Kid Junior

“It wasn’t that simple, because the shortage of containers is great and it also has a boom in value. When I bought it a year ago it was a price, today it is much more expensive”, David contextualizes.

After designing and fitting the container parts, the next step was to bring the blocks to the site. “I had to ask for a request to close the street, because the crane had to stop there and we stayed all night, from 11 pm to 7 am, from Saturday to Sunday”, he recalls.

Hence, as the owner associates, the process works as riding toys. The containers are docked and early in the morning they were already assembled. Next, the electrical and hydraulic installations, flooring and PVC on the walls begin.

“When I went to do it, my fear was this: I didn’t have any project besides mine, at least I didn’t find it. There are motels, offices, cafeterias, inns, but housing like this in a condominium doesn’t have it”, he emphasizes.

O Northeast diary requested the registration number of constructions made with containers to the Regional Council of Engineering and Agronomy of Ceará (Crea-CE). However, there is no such survey. With this, there is no official information about other condos of the type.

Condominium is in the last finishing adjustments

Subtitle: Condominium is in the last finishing adjustments

Photograph: personal collection

Search for construction

Although it appeared to have sprung up quickly on the site, construction began after about one year of studies of the owner, who came to understand the operation of container properties in the South of the country, the United States and Europe.

David started looking for the alternative when he came across the expressive increase in the price of construction materials at the beginning of the Covid pandemic. Until then, the idea was to expand the number of kitnetes for rent made in the most common way.


Subtitle: The project was carried out with the support of an architect and engineer.

Photograph: Personal archive

“I did the project to make another masonry building, I got the budget with the construction company and unfortunately it was very expensive, because when the pandemic arrived, the construction material took an absurd leap”, he recalls.

I was inside my room when I received the quote from the construction company and I started researching other types of construction and discovered the container. I went to study, find out where I was doing and look for information

David Rodrigues


After that, the work took approx. one year to completion with a few moments of pause. Until next week, as estimated by the owner, the last finishes will be completed.


Subtitle: Apartments should receive first residents from next week

Photograph: Kid Junior

construction with container

Like traditional works, buildings with containers must be registered with Crea-CE and with the City Hall. Permits, registration at a notary’s office, registration of Urban Property and Territorial Tax (IPTU), for example, are required.

“We are starting to have specific architectural projects for this, because not long ago they were only used for temporary installations, such as construction offices and material warehouses. Over the years, this has become more sophisticated”, explains engineer Emanuel Mota, who was once president of Crea.

With this, the team must be formed by an architect, a civil engineer and a mechanical engineer. There is no “container” classification for registration with the competent bodies, but general registration can be made.“It is a general project using mixed materials, because it will have concrete, container, acoustic and thermal coating”, he exemplifies.


Subtitle: Balconies attract the attention of passers-by

Photograph: Kid Junior

Costs are relative and container prices are set in dollars, in addition to shortages in some periods. The use of this material makes the work more environmentally sustainable, because they are discarded blocks. Another advantage is in runtime.

“It takes you less time to get good in time to use than with traditional methods, because they are ready-made and all you need to do is adapt. It reduces the time of the work, in some cases, in half the time”, completes Emanuel.

We have to be aware of new technologies and associate them with our daily lives, because the tendency is for traditional building materials to become scarce because they are natural resources.

Emanuel Mota

Civil engineer

The technique begins to be used in Ceará to raise commercial spaces and the first residences are also raised.

“We already see constructions in this direction, mainly, of stores and commercial points. Residences still not so much, but even some malls, like in Guararapes, were built only with containers”, he adds.

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