Client / 

Niu Jian


students research and design


UX Designer, Motion Designer, Service Designer

Sustainable Lifestyle Lab

2013 - 2014

The Sustainable Lifestyle Lab is composed of six containers, which applies the green, healthy, and low-carbon philosophies to real life scenarios.

With the employment of container and least resource intake, our project team constructed modular residential apartments with reasonable layout and well-proportioned space to apply green, healthy, low-carbon concepts into real life scenes.Through producing and consuming by oneself, cyclic utilization maximum is realized.


IAI design award

"Life in 6 Shipping Containers"

In the summer of 2014, our client Niu Jian and his family moved from the bustling Beijing district of Haidian to the village, on the outskirts of the capital. Their new home consists of a single-storey arrangement of six 20-foot shipping containers. A 600 watt solar panel hangs on one wall and 300 watt wind turbine spins on the roof.


He had the containers made to order, with doors and windows, a power supply and insulation. The 150 square metre-space costs about 300,000 RMB (50'000 USD) to have built and fitted out and we describe this as a laboratory for sustainable living. Asked why the team wanted to spend so much money for a tougher life on the outskirts of Beijing, Niu explains that he wants to spread the idea of a ‘shared community’ - people who want to find a more sustainable life in the smog ridden city.

​Building Process

The water source contains city water and rainwater. The used water from basin and kitchen turn into the gray water tank, they could be used in toilet and planting area after being treated.

There are roof planting area, vertical agriculture, and planting field within the lab.

Kitchen waste and toilet stool turn into the biogas digester. The residue will be used as fertilizer.

The energy source contains city electricity, wind power, solar power and biogas power.

​System Operation
Planting Equipment
Water and Biogas Tank
Solar and Wind Energy
Outdoor Water Tank

There are solar power panels on the roof edge. And the wind power generation equipment is on the terrace.

Rainwater and gray water formed from washing bathing, vegetable cleaning, and laundry can be collected in the outdoor water tank and be used as reclaimed water for garden watering after treatment.

There are four water vats near the toilet in the bathroom for collecting used water and reclaim them.

The equipment uses broth and LED lights to replace soil and sunlight to reach the growing demand for vegetables.

​Final Look
Environment Outlook
Indoor Planting Equipment
Rooftop View
2nd Floor, Rooftop Garden
Rooftop Garden
Water & Gas Tank for Recycle.
Outdoor Environment.