ISSUE 79  |  Summer Picnics

10 Houses Made from Shipping Containers

July 07, 2013 10:00 AM

BY Alexa Hotz

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Last weekend on an overcast Sunday, I locked myself indoors to watch episode after episode of Top of the Lake (think Twin Peaks set in New Zealand). In Jane Campion’s compelling drama, a group of women create a camp called Paradise, made from shipping containers set on the edge of the lake. We like the idea of a shipping container as vacation getaway—it’s mobile, inexpensive, and an example of creative reuse at its finest. We’ve rounded up our ten favorite houses (plus a swimming pool) made with shipping containers.


Above: A guest house/garden retreat/playhouse made from a repurposed steel shipping container by Jim Poteet of Poteet Architects in San Antonio, Texas. For more on the project, see our Q & A with Poteet in The Architect Is In: Container as Guest House.


Above: The Oakland home of architect Stephen Shoup of building Lab inc. includes an attached office space for the firm’s staff built from a 3- by 6-foot shipping container. For more visit the story from Dwell, Creative Re-Use in Oakland; photography by Aya Brackett for Dwell.


Above: In the center of Container City, a project designed by Urban Space Management along London’s Trinity Buoy Wharf, a container functions as a pool.


Above: Overlooking Loch Long on the Rosneath Peninsula in Scotland is Cove Park, where a group of artist residencies designed by Edo Architecture are set into the 60 acres of hillside. The firm built a terrace of three accommodation units from six containers welded together and set into the landscape with green rooftops.


Above: A pop-up hotel called Sleeping Around travels the globe according to demand. The hotel uses containers from a 1950s stock steel crate; once settled in a location, the rooms can be set up and fully functional within five hours. For more on the hotel, visit Design Boom.


Above: Using a stray shipping container and timber from old weapon boxes, architect Damith Premathilake built his holiday cabana at Maduru Oya in Sri Lanka; photograph by Logan MacDougall Pope for Inhabitat.


Above: Maziar Behrooz Architecture‘s Insta-House is a prefab container art studio made up of four 8-by-40-foot containers covering 960 square feet. The two-story live/work space can be erected in one week with prices starting at $99,800. The house shown here is tucked away in the Hamptons.


Above: A bach (meaning vacation cabin; it’s short for “bachelor pad”) in New Zealand was designed by Atelier Workshop. The container has built-in wood paneling, a foldout terrace, and bunk beds; all that and it’s meant to be mobile. For more, see A Shipping Container Transformed into the Ultimate Holiday House.


Above: Prefab houses from MEKA (Modular, Environmental, Kinetic, Assembly) made from a steel shipping container, cedar wood paneling, double glazed argon-filled windows, a bamboo interior, and slate bathroom; four different design options range from $40K to $135K.


Above: Spotted on Inhabitat, British Columbia-based design collective Bark Design‘s All Terrain Cabin is a 480-square-foot cabin fully equipped for off-the-grid living.


Above: A cargo container house sits on a flat site in the Galician countryside of Spain. Designed by architects Severo Fernandez and Basilio Rodriguez of Estudio Base.

Craving more smart design solutions? Sift through the Architecture & Interiors section of our archive for more.