House-in-a-Can / Austin + Mergold

House-in-a-Can / Austin + Mergold
Courtesy of Austin + Mergold

Reexamining an ‘icon of the American landscape’ architects Austin + Mergold have created an innovate solution to pre-fabricated housing. A typical metal grain dryer offers an interior footprint of roughly one thousand square feet, thirty-six feet in diameter. The Philadelphia based, Cornell University graduates, have developed a design that instantly assembles off-the-shelf. The soup can-shaped 2,000 square foot single family starter homes are constructed from 14 gauge galvanized corrugated steel exterior, have 2 or 3 bedrooms, an optional green house, and can have one or two levels accordingly. Austin + Mergold recently partnered with Hometta where plans for House-in-a-Can will soon be available. Follow the break for more drawings and sketches.

House-in-a-Can / Austin + Mergold - More Images+ 9

Architects: Austin + Mergold Project Area: 36-foot diameter American grain dryer, 2,000 sqf

Accordingly to architects Aleksandr Mergold and Jason Austin:


The production capacity that is associated with manufacturing, engineering, delivery, and assembly of these structures is truly impressive: within days a new structure, immune not only to weather outside, but also to certain internal stresses, can be erected virtually anywhere. It is extremely durable, efficient, and inexpensive.

There is now a need for inexpensive, quickly assembled housing, storage, and even productive community gardens on sites of earthquakes, landslides, and brownfields. There is a need to quickly and safely house people, and make them instrumental in supporting their own livelihood. In a time when housing, both as emergency shelters and permanent construction, at home and abroad, is a pressing issue, a metal grain bin, as an instant, prefabricated housing solution, appears to be an attractive option. In the last hundred years, scores of patents on prefab houses were taken out, and none of them made it into mass production not because they were inferior designs, but precisely because they were lacking the manufacturing base associated with sourcing, fabrication, engineering, and delivery—in short, the infrastructure of a simple grain bin.

Courtesy of Austin + Mergold

We can again be sensitive to what others before us have left behind and make a good use of it, even if this new use was never originally intended. Perhaps this will constitute an essence in re-creation of sustainable infrastructure, and we, the people (and architects), can play a central role in it.

Courtesy of Austin + Mergold
floor plans

floor plans + elevations

Image gallery

See allShow less
About this author
Cite: Kelly Minner. "House-in-a-Can / Austin + Mergold" 02 Dec 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.