Lunch with the FT: Rob Rhinehart
In this article dated July 21st, 2016 Rob says he is living in the shipping container. Not sure when the interview really took place.
One foot in the future and one foot in the past seems to sum up Rhinehart. His latest project is building a home in Los Angeles, off the grid. This is surprisingly possible in one of the world’s most urban environments. He found disused land in an unfashionable part of town and plonked a shipping container in it, which he now lives in.
This might be eccentric but it’s not a millionaire’s whimsy. The land was cheap because it is not served by electricity or water; the shipping container was $1,500. Rhinehart proudly says he is not wealthy — whatever his paper worth, he draws a fairly modest salary.
“Do you wanna see a picture?” he says, passing me his phone. “The only drawback is the area’s still a little rough, so it got graffitied.”
The container’s power is solar-generated. Of course there is no need for a kitchen. Rhinehart is currently relying on a “Porta Potty” but has hopes for advances in new toilets that vaporise waste. He once tried to save water by taking an antibiotic to minimise trips to the toilet. “I massacred my gut bacteria,” he wrote in his blog.
I ask if we all need to take such radical steps on water conservation. “I don’t think that’s necessary. But I was being the guinea pig just to see what’s possible. Think about all the infrastructure that goes into sewage. I think it has a lot to do with the cost of the city in general.”