Shipping Container Homes You Must See

Shipping container homes and structures are increasingly becoming a thing in our generation thanks to the strength, durability, affordability and sustainability of the recyclable materials. They are almost readily available around the world and even cheaper near the ports. As people continue to venture into this new way of building, I look at some of the projects that have utilized shipping containers so far to create functional and comfortable spaces around the world.

10 Best Shipping Container Homes

1. Grillagh Water House By Patrick Bradley

Grillagh Water House by Patrick Bradley Architects©Aidan Monaghan

The Grillagh Water House is a shipping container home designed and owned by Architect Patrick Bradley. Located in Northern Ireland near the town of Maghera, this home’s design was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s The Falling Water. It stands as a sculpture deep in the farming lands while still managing to complement and blend well into the site.

Grillagh Water House by Patrick Bradley Architects 1©Aidan Monaghan

One of the most interesting features of this residential building is the upper level that cantilevers over the lower level as it extends towards its end with a balcony surrounded by steel fins to sunshade the interior. The upper level accommodates an open lounge with breathtaking views beyond the landscape while the lower level has more intimate and private spaces including a bathroom, boot room and bedroom with a sliding door.

2. Puma City By LOT-EK

Puma City by LOT-EK architects© Danny Bright

Using 24 shipping containers, the architects designed one of the first truly mobile shipping container homes of this scale for Puma. It’s a stack of three levels of containers which have since been shipped to various destinations internationally. Two full retail spaces cover the lower levels, while the second level houses offices, press are and storage. A bar, lounge and event space with a large terrace occupy the top level.

Puma City by LOT-EK architects 1© Danny Bright

The building has been designed as an assembly of independent containers which are disassembled and encased in panels to prevent windows from shuttering during shipping. When they arrive at their destination they are assembled back to make this 1,100 square metre building.

3. Container Terminal By Potash Architects

Shipping Container Terminal office building Potash Architects 1© Lior Avitan

This structure located 40 kilometers south of Tel Aviv in Israel provides building offices, technical facilities and an events space at the Port of Ashdod – one of Israel’s largest cargo ports. Project architect, Sivan Joseph, explained that inspiration was drawn from how containers were stacked in the cargo port and the architects wanted to extend the narrative with a little bit of playfulness to differentiate the project from the surroundings while managing to accentuate the recreational function of the building.

Shipping Container Terminal office building Potash Architects© Lior Avitan

The playful approach taken in this project was to angle one of the containers at 30 degrees and slot a staircase inside for circulation to the upper levels. 4 containers make up the lower levels while 2 more on the upper level accommodate more offices above.

4. OceanScope By AnL Studio

OceanScope by AnL Studio© AnL Studio

Korean firm AnL Studio designed and completed the construction of an observatory deck located in Songdo New City, Incheon, South Korea. The structure which was an initiative of the Mayor of Incheon City utilizes three containers inched at angles of 10, 30 and 50 degrees to create an observatory where visitors go to watch the sunset over one of the largest harbours in Korea.

OceanScope by AnL Studio 1© AnL Studio

The Mayor’s initiative looked to find unused containers that would later be used to create public spaces across the city. The nature of the ground level being too low inspired the leaning of the containers at the three angles, visitors can then ascend the stairs inside each container to go up and watch the sunset at higher and numerous viewpoints.

5. The Kennel By CHA:COL

The Kennel by CHA COL© CHA:COL

Commissioned by K9 Ventures – a venture capitalist firm with special focus on technology companies, this tech incubator located in Palo Alto, California, was designed to encourage startups to leave as fast as possible. According to the architects, CHA:COL, the incubator needed to be used intensively by startups, yet for short periods of time.

The Kennel by CHA COL 1© CHA:COL

The brief required the architects to fit the container inside a warehouse located in the peripherals of Palo Alto. The space was required to be a skeleton of what normal incubators are, to discourage incubated startups from staying longer. The container is supported by external space surrounding it inside the warehouse, which also is as bare-boned as possible.

6. Tony’s Farm By Playze

Tonys Farm by Playze© Bartosz Kolonko

The owner of the biggest organic farm in Shanghai, China, wanted to transform his farm from a workers’ place to an integrated workers’ and consumers’ zone where a natural lifestyle would be promoted. The activities of the people working in the farm and the visitors were linked through a shipping container homes complex developed by architecture firm Playze.

Tonys Farm by Playze 1© Bartosz Kolonko

The building complex accommodates a main reception, lobby, VIP area, new offices and an existing warehouse where fruits and vegetables produced at the farm are packed. Containers were chosen for their affordability, sustainability and strength with local bamboo used for indoor and outdoor flooring.

7. Indian Research Base By Bof Architekten

Indian Research Base by Bof Architekten© Bof Architekten/NCAOR

The location of this project, Antarctica, required for a sustainable building that would also be easy to disassemble. The design solution by the architects, Bof Architekten, was for 134 shipping containers that would define the usable spaces as well as act as the structural system. The extreme conditions in the Antarctic featured low temperatures and very powerful winds necessitating the shipping containers to be clad with an insulated aerodynamic skin consisting of metal panels. The skin was tested and optimized for this purpose.

Indian Research Base by Bof Architekten 1© Bof Architekten/NCAOR

The lower level houses laboratories, storage, technical space, CHP Unit, a garage and a workshop. The second level has 24 single and double rooms, a kitchen and dining room, library, fitness room, OP room, offices and a lounge while the third level accommodates an air conditioning system and a terrace that can be used for various scientific experiments.

8. Two Tree House By Golany Architects

golany architects two tree house© Yaron Golany

The two tree house is among shipping container homes disguised with prefabrication wherever possible. Located in Jerusalem, Israel, the architects wanted to preserve the existing trees so they integrated the two trees within the perimeter of the house.

golany architects two tree house© Yaron Golany

Prefabrication of the container was chosen instead of masonry work so that the trees can be preserved. The container features timber cladding, light roof over steel ceiling, stone work, and decks which complement the site. The pine trees sunshade the timber cladding from the harsh sun.

9. Smaller By Jim Poteet

smaller container studio by Jim Poteet architects© Chris Cooper

Architect Jim Poteet designed this house for artist Stacey Hill who wanted a garden retreat, playhouse and guesthouse for visiting artists within the artists’ community in San Antonio, Texas, USA. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows were added to the shipping container, including a heating and air-conditioning system, a green roof, a small sink, shower and toilet.

smaller container studio by Jim Poteet 1© Chris Cooper

Spray-foam was used between the exterior walls and interior bamboo for insulation to protect the interiors from gaining too much heat hence creating thermal comfort. The whole container home is placed on a base made from recycled telephone poles. The green roof features a number of plants with the overhang at the back planted with cacti.

10. Vissershok Container Classroom By Tsai Design Studio

Vissershok Container Classroom by Tsai Design Studio© Tsai Design Studio

Tsai Design Studio developed this classroom for Vissershok Primary School located in the rolling hills of Durbanville wine valley on the outskirts of Cape Town. The children who school here are from underprivileged communities and farmers living in Du Noon.

Vissershok Container Classroom by Tsai Design Studio 1© Tsai Design Studio

The project features learning, growing, playing and gathering areas. The learning area inside the container is sun-shaded by the large roof above it which has also been raised to reduce heat gain. Knowing the difficulty in ventilating shipping container homes, cross ventilation is achieved through a series of colourful windows on either side of the container.




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