DAVIE — To casual observers, the stacked red, blue and white containers might look like giant Lego pieces plopped onto a vacant lot.
But these former shipping containers are being recycled into a sleek 3,000-square-foot home in Davie.
Architect Asghar Fathi is constructing the three-story house for his family on a lot that he owns.
"It's recycling basically," he said of the cargo containers that he bought for $2,500 each at an Opa-locka container yard. "I want to make an example of it. It's my own home. I am going to live in it."
His boxy home in the 4600 block of SW 55th Ave. is part of a recent wave of people using former ocean cargo holders to build houses, duplexes and offices in South Florida.
One two-story white cargo home in Jupiter is offered to the public as an Airbnb rental.
Fathi started construction on his home this year.
"This is sustainable, economical and easy to put together if you have the right crew," said Fathi, as his welder and a crew member worked on the container home. "It will be hurricane- and termite-proof" he said, adding that he plans to install impact windows throughout.
"With the windows and stucco, you won't be able to tell there was a container here," he said, standing inside what will be first-floor bedroom, which will go to his 25-year-old son.
When done, the house will have three bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, dining area, a studio, a two-car carport and an open-air deck.
"I think it's a neat idea so I am hoping that people can catch on to it," said Fathi, whose firm Fathi Architects has designed residential and commercial properties including a Davie pet express hospital, a Florida City hotel and a Bradenton church. But "this is my first cargo home," Fathi said.
He said he's inspired by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian philosophy of making small homes accessible for every person.
"He tried to standardize materials so everyone can do it. I am basically following his footsteps with a different material so people can have a home without spending millions and millions of dollars. With one third, you can have a home and be proud of it," said Fathi, who estimates that the project will cost about $250,000 by the time he's done.
"This is my passion, this is my excitement," he said. "This is my challenge basically because every day I am learning something new here."