I have been thinking about burying or partially burying an ISO shipping container to use as a storm shelter. I've done some preliminary reading online on this topic, but have not seen anything definitive yet. Some say its a great way make an inexpensive shelter, and others say it will crumple when dirt is applied.
My idea is to dig a hole, pour some concrete for a solid base, set a 20' shipping container in the hole, anchor it to the concrete, and fill in the empty space around the container. Access would be through a hatch installed in the top of the container. After the container is in place, a perimeter foundation would be poured and a cabin built over the container (the Builder's Cottage is what I have in mind).
The biggest concern I have from my reading so far is that the containers are not engineered for side loads, and the walls may buckle. My thinking is that a 20' container would be less susceptible to this than a 40' container because there is less area for the dirt to press on. Also, I'm not planning on burying it deep underground, just 7'-8' up from the bottom. The house would not even be resting on the container, it would straddle it. I'm also thinking that building an internal frame tightly against the wall would help it keep its form.
Has anyone tried this or know of someone who has? Did it work out? This isn't something that I will be doing any time soon. I don't even own the land to do this yet. Right now I am just bouncing ideas off the internet and seeing what comes back.