There are a lot of good examples and ideas out there in modular or pre-fab construction. let me start with this:

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Shipping containers have a few things going for them -

Reuse is 'green'. we import more than we export and hence have a good stock of shipping containers. Steel is highly recyclable and all these containers will probably be reused or recycled in some form, still, reuse is more energy efficient than recycling and that's what makes their use 'cool' in architecture.

Construction and modular are friends . starting from bricks, CMU, 2x4s, aluminum composite panels...and so on. Shipping containers are cheap and modular. Though I understand that some people may dislike shipping containers for exactly the same reasons.

There are practical issues. I don't see any point in using shipping containers if I have to modify the crap out of them just to make them fit in a project. so they are good for some projects and not so good for others. They are strong and watertight but not designed as a habitable space. None of the shipping container supplier/manufacturer will warranty them against water leakage when used in construction. They are limited in height and lighting/HVAC needs to be designed with that restriction. what about wet areas that need to be sloped? How do you accommodate a shower stall in a universal(ADA) design? How to make sure that the roof and floor and walls meet the structural code requirements?

It requires a lot of research upfront before you can use it in a project and the cost of doing that cannot be justified if you want to use it for just one project. I believe that's why we have firms that specialize in container architecture. There may be exceptions. The scale of the project and willingness on part of the client may make it work.

Shipping containers are made for shipping and they do that job well. The challenge and the thrill lies in taking something like that and make it work for a completely different use. Looking at some existing examples (see comments on my blog post) shipping containers may be transformed into a really good design, even when they are just 'stacked up' like the Freitag Store in Zurich. I think context can be a very powerful statement. Not to mention that you need a very sympathetic client to propose something like that - or a damn good speaker! or both.

Nice HDR.


i´m in an Internship at this Company at the moment ( TwoTimesTwentyFeet )


We did something close to this one some time ago.


Container Building by TwoTimesTwentyFeet

I came across this not for profit organization that adapts shipping containers into health clinics. Check out containers 2 clinics

Puma City Shipping Container store in Boston. Another project by Lot-ek.
24 refurbished shipping containers make up this 11,000 SF store.

Read more at Inhabitat
Very interesting! I always liked the idea of reusing.Couple of years ago , we had the same conversation with some friends when they showed me the following
its propably something out of mass production and im not sure if this is working or is just to show of.

The perfect in my opinion is if we could have reusage , safety , economy and some "romance"...
im thinking and worrying if someday these containers will be the main "house" for the low levels masses of our society...
( i know im too emotional maybe...)
@airamhag: I think it depends on how people perceive shipping containers - as something that's used because of cost and necessity or as something novel or cool. If you look at some of the existing and planned projects by lot-ek and other firms that are on the forefront of shipping container architecture, I think it's certainly going towards the 'cool' factor. I would fear for exactly the opposite- that shipping containers use will be restricted to the high end. I hope reuse is one of the options that all designers consider as part of the design process.

LOT-EK Highrise in New York (via Treehugger)

@ Vishal Charles
wow! that is inspiration..

I see ur point..i think i can accept this point of view :)
I hope as time goes by i ll become more openminded and not so suspicious :)
Has anyone been inside one? How does the space feel? I like the concept--esp for urban and industrial use.
good point. This calls for a trip to Boston or New York :)
I'm all in. New York containers here I come--

I live in one (two actually) in NH and am in the process of setting up shop in Desert Hot Springs.  My site is  


The key to livability is the insulation - closed cell foam; I'm toasty in the winter (electric radiant floor heat) and ice cold in the summer (13.5K BTU RV Unit on roof).  Here in the desert I now find that the a/c isn't as necessary because of the insulating properties of the foam.

Container homes and cabins can also be found here:


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