A sign at the curb in front of the angular house reads: PV14. Technical jargon? Not exactly. It stands for Peavy Road, the home’s Old Lake Highlands address, and 14 containers. Yes, that second-story span of steel boxes was assembled from industrial shipping containers. The day the crane hoisted them into place, dozens of neighbors gathered around the big lot overlooking White Rock Lake and scratched their heads. Months later, based on the stream of positive emails and phone calls to the home’s 30-something designer, Michael Gooden, and the architect-homeowner, Matt Mooney, the structure may become a symbolic gateway to the neighborhood when it is complete this summer.

The men work together at the same Dallas architecture firm. As a side endeavor, Mooney enlisted Gooden, who works on his own projects as M Gooden Design, two years ago to conceive a radical new house for him and his wife, having lived in Old Lake Highlands for more than 20 years. Mooney explains his unconventional choice of structure this way: “I have always considered shipping containers to be beautifully engineered pieces of equipment, and I thought, done right, they would be great building blocks for us.” Gooden loved the idea, but never imagined he would spend a year trying to source them. Budget-friendly, used containers (more like “retired,” he quips) were too beat-up, discolored and inconsistent in quality to be used. The men opted to go with new Cor-Ten steel versions instead, and that’s how the designer ended up in the surreal situation of wiring a large sum of money to Shanghai to buy custom containers from a man online named Gordon. Yes, Gordon. They even got a cost break by allowing goods to be transported in the new containers on the ship ride over.

Now in place, the home’s rectangular rib cage stands out among its pitched-roof peers, but in the best way possible, in Gooden’s view. “It’s the right neighborhood for the project,” he says. “There are a lot of people who are artistic here and who think outside of the box.”

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