Shipping Container Homes Not Just A Fad But The Home Of The Future.

When I originally started looking at shipping container homes I was specifically looking at modular construction. As time has gone on more people seem to be developing much smaller homes using the same concept. I don’t think its down to just a tiny home movement but a sign of the times. In the last few months I have noticeably seen the price of gas increase for cooking, food prices increasing and petrol at the pumps. All in all things are going up in price and we can either prepare for the worst and hope for the best or look at downsizing to help accommodate the changing world.

My previous home was a Victorian terraced town house, tall ceilings, open fire places and brickwork that let the wind just breeze through. In the winter times even with heating on it was not only expensive but still struggled to warm. Insulation injected into the walls, changing sash wood windows to double glazed, installing gas fires over the old coal fires all these bits of modernisation helped solve bits of problems but created more. First one being the expense of the upgrades next as the upgrades went in things like the gas fires over the coal cost more to run. A case of developing an old house with new problems and its one of the reasons I started looking at container housing. Building something that could be developed efficiently from the start, but also using recycled materials would allow the home to be built at a reduced rate.

Now the picture has changed a bit more as I see the sizes I originally looked at may be still viable but are they needed? I rent my apartment out here which is a studio type where the sitting,dining and sleeping are are in what would be dimensions of around 20ft x 12ft. Bigger than a shipping container in width but also looking at the room you can also see a lot of wasted space in the middle of the room. The bed is there day or not as well as a dining table, 3 chairs, 2 computer desks, 2 sofas and a wardrobe. This space isn’t maximised but shows it is extremely livable.

Its why I can see the world changing as the balance of wealth between East and West alters which will see people trying to maintain a standard of living in the West and downsizing the home is one way to do it. Also adding to the fact the population explosion globally is going to see some severe affects on resources such as oil and food, we are already seeing the start of the decline of peak oil.

Shipping Container Art Gallery In Oslo, Norway

A Shipping Container Gallery based in Oslo by MMW for Alexandra Dyvi

A Shipping Container Gallery based in Oslo by MMW for Alexandra Dyvi not only is a cheap method of construction but also extremely environmental when using recycled materials especially if the containers themselves in this case are near their final destination. But also the containers themselves are in keeping with a dockside look.

A Shipping Container Gallery based in Oslo by MMW for Alexandra Dyvi


A Shipping Container Gallery based in Oslo by MMW for Alexandra Dyvi

Due to the lack of light in shipping containers because of no windows the addition of circular windows opposite each other allows strong northern light to pass through, as well as rectangular end windows bringing plenty of light. The original site was one of ship building which is another in keeping factor of the shipping container structure. Especially when you introduce walkways and steel ship type steps.

The structure itself is made up of 10 shipping containers which were then insulated on the interior before covered in plywood and sheetrock.

A Shipping Container Gallery based in Oslo by MMW for Alexandra Dyvi


Shipping Container School Expansion (Video)

I enjoy this video as its a short clip showing the basic stacked shipping containers shortly before they start coating them on the exterior and interior to the finished building where it become difficult to even identify they were constructed from shipping containers. Bearing in mind 80% of the extension is built using recycled materials does show more public and government buildings can go through the same process if they tried. On top of this no doubt cost wise it was a lot cheaper on labour and material costs. Also an important thing here is that its not a school for Africa for a change but Orange County in the United States at the

Shipping Container Cultural Centre In Buenos Aires

Shipping Container Cultural Centre In Buenos Aires

Photos: Paula Alvarado.

Although the idea seems simple the thoughts are far reaching, The educational points in different parts of the city are part of the Proa foundation in La Boca neighborhood, Buenos Aires. Developed by arcihtecture studio a77 utilizing a shipping container and recycled materials to make furniture.

Shipping Container Cultural Centre In Buenos Aires

"The Nomad Cultural Center is a project of urban pedagogy whose goal is to generate bonds with the community and to find in it a fertile ground for learning, with active participation channels through experimentation, workshops, laboratories and other actions alike," say the organizers of the space.

The project follows a77’s study of transitory habitable spaces, and its modular nature allows it to be adapted to different spaces and situations in the city.

Shipping Container Cultural Centre In Buenos Aires
Shipping Container Cultural Centre In Buenos Aires

The first place it seen its use was La Boca a neighbourhood that not only is a tourist trap but also houses one of the worst polluted rivers on the planet the Matanza Riachuelo. The free activities teach about sustainability and people were asked to think of all the fish and birds that used to exist in the area which are now gone, adding to this to think of other cities and how they will become in the future. Environmental awareness for the next generations.

Shipping Container Condo Development – City Centre Lofts

Shipping containers are often seen as “not” the way to go in housing development but City Centre Lofts have seen the potential to move into not only single dwellings but for city living and I can’t blame them. The truth of the matter is they have done their homework on the cost of structures comparing other materials and can see a 25% saving on the building method using shipping containers for condo development. As well as keeping to its green values they are looking at 50% use of recycled materials as well as other green enhancements to the properties.

City dwellings are always restricted to cost which translates into land use having stackable shipping containers converted into condo homes offers up a real solution to city dwelling especially as the world population continues to increase.

Football Container Garden

football planterAnother interesting container gardening idea is the recycled football hanging basket. Not only does it give you a waterproof container to stop things dripping on your table but could easily be used for scented herbs or flowers to add an aroma to the room to freshen the place up. You can learn how to build this one over at instructables

Shipping Container Office

Shipping container office 

During 2005 Stephen Shoup founder of design and build company ding LAB inc. purchased a furniture and woodcarving building they wanted to convert into a live/workspace. This then was outgrown as Shoup became a father so he began developing a plan to increase the space to create more room in the backyard. He created the office using an old retired freezer and a shipping container formed in an L shape.

The exterior of the Shipping container was then covered with cement board panels by CertainTeed as well as redwood. Hidden beneath the exterior panels is a layer of exterior coat insulation. The shipping container sides were filled with batt insulation and then covered with rigid insulation with a radiant barrier.

Inside the office you will find a drain back water based radiant heating system that is connected up to a 200 gallon holding tank as well as two 4′x8′ solar thermal panels. Cork flooring was used on the interior as well as the walls being covered with reclaimed fir and Homasote panels.

The window you can see in the photo was recovered from a salvage yard as well as the sliding door. Wherever possible recycled materials were used price wise the project came in at around $150sqft.

Shipping container office Shipping container office

Shipping container office plans

Shipping Container Summer Offices In Sardinia – DesignBoom

Designboom‘s summer offices are located on the island of Sardinia away from their main base in Milan. Bit of a retreat from the city living the team started to work on their idea of building the summer offices out of shipping containers. An ideal solution to the problems with Sardinia’s strict building codes as shipping containers like many other parts of the world fall into “temporary” accommodation. The three 20ft shipping containers were adapted for a live and work space for the team during the summer months. Not a shack on a hill but fully working and functioning electricity,water, air conditioning and high speed internet.

Two of the containers are set in an L shape manner with a gap between them used as an outdoor kitchen diner unit being made in the gap. The third container is used for the bathroom and shower room complete with composting toilet,washing machine and sink.

The containers have also had sliding doors installed that fit snug behind the shipping container doors to allow plenty of daylight and cross ventilation into the structures. The added bonus of the L shape layout being that if too much wind comes off the waters they can open the shipping container doors to create a windbreak for the eating area.

The containers were painted with ceramic paint SUPERTHERM® but no insulation has been added.


Designboom's summer office - Shipping container office Designboom's summer office - Shipping container office

Designboom's summer office - Shipping container office

Shipping Container Playground – By Phooey Architects Australia

Shipping containers as a Children’s playground makes a lot of sense especially taking one of the most indestructible pieces of equipment for moving stuff round the world in with some of the most destructive age groups on the planet. Kids are naturally wanting to play but creating a safe environment that also delivers a space for creative art, dance as well as meeting with friends the shipping container is perfect for the job.Melbourne-based Phooey Architects came up with this design to give kids in a South Melbourne public housing project somewhere to go. On top of the obvious it also assists the kids in learning about recycling as the projects materials down to the windows and fixings are all recycled materials. The hand rails, balconies and overhangs all come from recycled cut out pieces from the shipping container such as the door openings.

Love the look of the interior and exterior as it has “kids” written all over it with the design. I am sure the shipping container playground gets a lot of use by the local inhabitants.

shipping container playground - Australia

shipping container playground - Australia

Off grid container house offering its own electricity and water supply

This is a very modern container house using two containers. They are slightly offset to allow the formation of a shower wet room/ kitchen while at the other container a bedroom “nook”. Functional its also made good use of the windows and outside space with a deck area.

Water supply wise its got a very interesting rainwater gathering system that actually involves a tilted bed of stones on the roof, the bed harvests the rainwater into two plastic barrels to supply all the water needs of the house. At the same time the roof also has some solar panels added for power and a moss type plant insulation system which is currently being tested. A practical house mainly made from recycled materials.


Shipping container home