16 Sep

Creative Architecture from Shipping Containers

Creative Architecture from Shipping Containers


Sure, offshore containers are useful for hauling, storing and servicing, refrigeration and freezing,  and slashing the cost of transporting goods overseas, but did you know they are also used to build extravagant architectural structures?

The use of metal shipping containers for architectural design goes back to the mid 1950’s. Unexpectedly, shipping containers started becoming recognized as aesthetically pleasing building materials by architects and designers.

Large quantities of shipping containers are manufactured every year, used for transport and then discarded. These unwanted units can be purchased inexpensively and repurposed to create something interesting and beautiful. Finding architectural uses for these containers poses particular challenges, for example, ensuring insulation, safety concerns and solar heat gain, but there is definitely something unique and amazing about modifying shipping containers for exciting architectural projects.


Caterpillar House

Chilean architect Sebastian Irarrazaval created this family residence in Santiago, Chile.  The entire structure is made from shipping containers, with fabulous views of the Andes Mountains. Living in the Andes helps reduce energy costs because the cold air flows down the mountains and is used for cooling the home through specifically designed ventilation and windows.


Starbucks Tukwila, WA drive-thru


Recycling is important to Washingtonians. When the Tukwila Starbucks location needed and overhaul, the design team on the project found inspiration through a company-wide recycle drive. This structure consists of four re-purposed shipping containers. The store is 450 sq ft, fully functioning and LEED certified. This is an innovative use of unwanted containers where customers love to visit and enjoy the unusual architecture.


WFH House


Arcagency is the Danish architectural company who designed the WFH House. The designers of this model home have taken recycled shipping containers and created a model home which allows clients to help in the design of their own prefabricated home. The home has two rows of containers stacked on top of each other, making up 1,937 sq ft. The home boasts open living rooms, a kitchen and four rooms that can be used as offices, bedrooms or whatever else the client prefers. The exterior is made from bamboo and has extensive insulation in the interior walls.


Sleeping Around


Perhaps one of the most amazing uses of discarded shipping containers is the Sleeping Around – a portable bed and breakfast, compact enough to be placed in any location within just a matter of hours. Based in Belgium, this portable hotel has six containers in total, four are guest rooms, and the remaining rooms serve as breakfast rooms, saunas, and lounging areas. The rooms are equipped with beds, Ipod docking stations, toilets, showers and air conditioning. The hotel is currently sitting in Antwerp.


The Beach Box


This shipping container home, called The Beach Box, is located among the dunes in Amagansett, New York. The designer, Andrew Anderson, created this 2,000 sq ft. space and designed four bedrooms and 2.5 baths. It’s a gorgeous and livable example of re-purposing unwanted shipping containers.

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