Shipping Container Architecture This is

Uses of Containers
General architecture
Hydroponic farms
Childrens centers
Shopping malls
Sports facilities
Artistic uses
Marketing spaces
Portable power
Disturbing police uses

Tiny house projects

Container architecture videos
Movies about architects and architecture

Why containers?
Prefab vs DIY

Links area

CAD files

© All rights reserved.


This is a webpage devoted to listing as many examples of people using shipping containers and ISBUs (intermodal steel building units) as architectural elements as I can find. Be aware that containers are not a perfect building material, but no material is perfect and they have been used very effectively in many cases.


I switched my Firmitas website's main page over to listing tiny structures instead of container projects because although it is true that shipping containers offer many advantages, like durability and stackability, and reuse of unwanted steel containers, tiny houses and micro apartments offer the prospect of being built from mostly locally-sourced natural products.

Here are some thoughts to consider:

  1. Local sourcing of products is a better solution for humanity than the current status quo of shipping products all over the planet inside heavy steel containers, transported in cargo ships that run on highly toxic bunker fuel, the burning of which pollutes the atmosphere and the rare spilling of which devastates beaches, destroys animals and marine habitats and harms local economies.
  2. The true costs of international shipping are never represented in the costs of products sold in stores, even when a shirt that costs 50 cents to make is sold for $50. If we had to ship products from overseas in an eco-friendly way the cost could be so great that we would manufacture the products locally. Because costs are artificially suppressed by the status quo that results in environmental destruction today that society will have to deal with down the road, the prices we pay today are fraudulent.
  3. While the reuse of shipping containers after removing harmful paints or other residues is clever and novel, the original (or upstream) cause is the status quo of shipping itself which is a part of a race to the bottom of not only prices but of environmental accountability as well.

The List
Examples of using shipping containers as architectural elements

Note that non-container projects by container-using architects are also listed.

General architecture

myPad (London UK)

Luke Iseman and Heather Stewart (Oakland California)

Eric Reynolds, Urban Space Management (developer; London, UK)
Container City
(London, UK)

LOT/EK, architectural+design firm in New York City.

BlueBrown container house (Bangkok Thailand)
Thailand shipping container house by BlueBrown

TreeHugger article.

Glassberg Container House AKA HomeContained (Kansas City Missouri USA)
Glassberg shipping container house


Their website.

Infiniski (Chile and Spain)

Website 1.
Website 2.

Their Manifesto house uses shipping containers and used pallets.

More at WeTheUrban

PFNC Global Communities
Their website.
Their name means "por fin, nuestra casa" i.e. at last, our home.

Port-a-Bach container house (New Zealand)

Their website.

TreeHugger article.

Ross Stevens multi-story container home
(Wellington New Zealand)

ContainerHomes.Net (Costa Rica)
Selling affordable prebuilt container homes that include a bathroom.

YouTube walk-through of their studio apartment.
Their studio apartment model.

Leger Wanaselja multi-story container home
(Near San Francisco California)

Architect Shigeru Ban, Artist Gregory Colbert
The Nomadic Museum, made of shipping containers. It has popped up in New York, Santa Monica, Venice, Tokyo and Mexico City.

Photograph by Gregory Colbert

Cordell House (Texas)
G Living article.

The Coolist article.

Bruce Mosher (Hawaii)
Click to enlarge:
Container home in Paauilo Hawaii

He's building a house on top of two ISO containers.

The Affordable Homes Group (New Jersey USA)

Article in Green Builder magazine.

Jones Partners (El Segundo, California)

Donny Pike (Maui, Hawaii, USA)
Built a shipping container based cabin with ocean view.

YouTube video.
His personal website.

Zigloo Domestique
(British Columbia, Canada)

Loutzenhiser Container House

Shipping Container Home (Far North Queensland, Australia)

Tampa Armature Works (Florida, USA)
  • Main website.
  • North Charleston, SC House
  • Redondo Beach, Florida House
  • St. Petersburg House (at 874 15th Ave. South).

The St. Petersburg House was covered on TV on the Bob Vila home improvement show, however the video is not free. Link

Bob Vila: Building a Container House

Addis Containers (New Zealand)

ConHouse (Slovenia)
Polka-dot container house designs. Link

Maison-Container (France)
Constructing a container-house.

Adam Kalkin / Architecture and Hygiene

KHRAS Architects (Denmark)
Architecture for Humanity 1st Place Contest Winner
Project for use in Africa - award info

Architecture Week article

EURANS (Ukraine)
Interesting site shows a container building at several stages of construction.

Royal Wolf
Ready-made office containers.

HyBrid: Cargotecture

MVRDV (Holland)

Fox & Fowle Architects (New York City)

Urban Settings (British company)

Urgent housing in Australia's mining areas
A number of news articles have appeared in the Australian news media explaining that in places like Karratha, which is a city serving a nearby mining area, container-based housing is on the rise because conventional housing prices have gone through the roof.

Habitainer (Spain)

Ecodale (Lockhart Texas USA)
This is an ongoing shipping container based farm house project that's described in a blog, with lots of details about the many issues being tackled, such as land purchase, insulation etc. Link

The Shipyard (Berkeley, California, USA)

Bill Glennon (Alberta, Canada)
He's building a 31-container castle.

Sven Pirkl (Redondo Beach, California, USA)
Created a container-and- wood based home as report on by ABC 7 TV news.

YouTube video.

Sean Godsell (architect in Melbourne, Australia)

Photo by Earl Carter.

Academic Buildings and Projects

Clemson University SEED Project
Clemson's architecture department has started the SEED project to find ways to use shipping containers to provide cheap, safe housing for the Carribean, such as Haiti.

Waldorf school (Costa Mesa California)
Time-lapse movie showing construction:

Keetwonen (Amsterdam Holland)
The company Tempohousing produces container-based housing, most importantly its student housing project Keetwonen in Amsterdam.

New Den Design (Le Havre France)
A'Docks is a project to provide container housing to French university students (similar to at Keetwonen) in Le Havre, France. They say the rent is 350 euros.

Their website
TF1 video
Another video.

Des conteneurs pour loger les étudiants du Havre by Ptite_Mule

Here is a similar project in Paris, with a slightly higher rent: YouTube video

Global Peace Containers

An interesting documentary about Jamaica:
Watch the movie: Life and Debt

Paul Cooper (architect in South Africa)

Rensaleer Polytechnic Institute
A class project to convert a 20-foot container into a portable medical facility for Haiti.

Professor Tickle at the University of Virginia (USA)
  • Article about Prof. Tickle's students using a shipping container for projects

William Deegan (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA)

Container Cabins

Tin Can Cabin by Steve (Wisconsin USA)
His three-container cabin:

Tin Can Cabin

His blog in which he describes ongoing construction.

Chris Radcliffe Container House (Portland Oregon (USA))
Radcliffe has a blog about the house, with much practical information. The biggest thing I took from it is that permitting costs can be quite high these days in some places e.g. tens of thousands of dollars just for a building permit.

The ArkHaus (New York?)
Another cabin project: Link

Lakeside Retreat by Damith Premathilake (Sri Lanka)

Article link

RO/LU (Minneapolis Minnesota USA)
Their two-container getaway:

Their website.

General Marine Leasing (Louisiana)
Housing for oil rig workers.

Their container bunk houses page.

Floor plan [pdf].

Modular Transportable Housing (Washington State USA)
Housing for migrant workers. Link

Meraiah F. (Australia)
Construction video:

Bark All-Terrain Cabin (Canada)

The Ecopod (Canada)
This is a nice portable cabin in which one side folds down to become a deck, revealing floor-to-roof windows.

Gabriela Antenzon (Argentina)
Project in progress called El Seto al Fondo del Jardin

Shelter Corps i.e. Ed Beason and Renseleer Polytechnic Institute
Started a project to build structures in Haiti before the earthquake using cargo containers, in conjunction with RPI's Michael Oatman and students.

Cafés and restaurants

Snack Box (Times Square in New York City)
Snack Box in Times Square

La Boite Café (Austin Texas)

Aprisa: a Mexican restaurant

Proxy Project (San Francisco)

Computer Aid cyber cafe

MuvBox portable restaurant

Illy Cafe (mobile)
Adam Kalkin is credited with the Illy portable cafe.

Starbucks: burnt coffee sold out of a shipping container (Washington state)
Their coffee is burnt, horrible, and full of pesticides and their baristas are cold and insincere, but at least they have a container-based coffee stand.

Containers as hydroponic farms

Freight Farms


Castor Canadensis Sauna Box

Stores / Shops

Musto Sports Shop (Uruguay)

20-foot container used by Musto dealer to create a small shop.

Seabreeze Market (Berkeley California)
  • A small food market and deli based on two containers for the market, plus several more perhaps for storage, joined with the common walls removed to make a larger space.

Freitag Store (Zurich, Switzerland)



Joe Haskett (Providence Rhode Island)
The Box Office project, which uses "33 shipping containers to make Class A office space that will use 35% less energy than your average office space". As of late 2010, 2/3 of the offices were leased.

Joe Haskett Box Office Shipping Container Project

Joe Haskett Box Office Shipping Container Project

Joe Haskett Box Office Shipping Container Project

Containex (Austria)


Travelodge (Uxbridge UK)

Article in Building magazine

SnoozeBox (UK)

Their website

Article in Business Week

Childrens centers

Fawood Center (London)
Arcspace page with photos.

Shopping Malls

Seventh Kilometer Market (Odessa, Ukraine)
Odessa is a city on the Black Sea.

Dordoi Market (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)
There are now some photos of the market on Wikipedia, courtesy of Vladimir Menkov. Link.

Sports facilities

Container Creations

Artistic or Creative Uses for Containers

Sunset Observatory (South Korea)

Judit Bellostes: Container Origami

Belgian architect/artist Luc Deleu
His sculpture in Speybank in Yamashita Park, Yokohama:

Kaohsiung City International Container Arts Festival

Cove Park Artists Retreat
They use several containers to house guests. See their website.

Also check out this article in G Living with some nice photos.

LiveHouse (Melbourne Australia)
This is a side-opening container used to provide a moveable venue for cultural activities such as theater.

LiveHouse website.


Cellar (Austin TX)
Here is an educational montage describing how to use a container to create a cellar, in this case used for storing wine but such an installation could also make a good tornado shelter.

Underground 3-container bunker (USA)

Marketing Spaces

Google marketing barge

IEEE Spectrum article

Portable Power Generation

Eco-Nomad Combined Mechanical Utility Container

Diplomatic/Military Uses

It is said that the US army has used containers since the 50's for various uses. A recent radio program (NPR?) described explained that they were being used as living quarters in the Green Zone in Baghdad.

  • US is using them for housing in Afghanistan: story
  • This person is providing a rationale for wider use of containers in the US Army.

Disturbing Police State Uses

  • This page describes a rather disturbing use of containers (the story is disturbing too): to contain anti-Bush protestors in Sweden.

Videos about Shipping Container Architecture projects

  • Steve in Australia:

    Part 2
    Part 3
  • Box Office project:
  • Clemson University SEED video 1:
  • Clemson University SEED video 2:

  • Amanda Congdon interviews Peter DeMaria about his container projects.
  • Shipping container home for seasonal farm worker:
  • Keetwonen student housing video:
  • Interior view of student container housing unit in Amsterdam:
  • Zigloo video:
  • Hardy Island Shipping Container Beach House
  • How to stucco a shipping container:
  • CNN Report featuring DeMaria:
  • Container City video:
  • PFNC's tour of their container home:
  • Adam Kalkin's video:
    Quicktime movie.

Useful Links

CAD drawings

Tiny Houses

My page about tiny houses

Mobile architecture

Little Tag Along by Kevin Cyr (USA)
Little tag along

Solar homes

The Pearl
Check out this novel home design that uses both active and passive solar technology.

The Pearl by David Fanchon.



Non-container projects

Other Stuff


  1. If you have a site link that you would like to list then please email me here with that asking me to add it: Zack Smith.
  2. If you have a question, please keep in mind that I am neither an architect, nor a structural engineer, therefore I cannot review plans or make recommendations.

Essays and pages are copyright © 2003-2013 by . All rights reserved.


A mountain of evidence & simply the laws of physics support the view that the official story about 9/11 is a lie, and that 9/11 was perpetrated not by Muslims but more likely by the military industrial complex and security services.

  • Most people do not know that a 3rd building at the World Trade Center (47-story WTC 7) collapsed at 5:20pm on 9/11 at free-fall speed. It was not hit by any planes nor by major debris -- in contrast to both WTC 5 and 6 which were under the debris from the Towers but neither of which collapsed.
  • Particles of unexploded military-grade demolition explosives (called nano-thermite) were found in multiple independently-collected samples of World Trade Center dust. Peer-reviewed scientific paper explains it.
  • Pools of molten iron under WTC after the attacks remained at 1000+ degrees Fahrenheit for weeks. Fires in WTC were never even half that temperature and indeed were not even hot enough to melt steel. However   a common byproduct of the use of thermite in controlled demolitions is molton iron.
  • Numerous videos show signs of controlled demolition in the collapses of the Twin Towers and WTC 7. These signs include (1) squibs which are horizontal ejections of debris caused by explosives; and (2) molton iron (not aluminum) dripping from the Towers before collapse.
WTC 7 collapse at 5:20pm on 9/11:
World Trade Center building 7 collapse on 9/11 at 5:20 pm
This is one of perhaps eight independently recorded videos of the same collapse, which US mainstream media refuse to ever broadcast. WTC 7 was a high-security building containing offices of CIA, SEC and the mayor's curiously-unused emergency command center. To set up a controlled demolition at WTC 7 would have necessitated weeks of planning, installation, and especially top-security clearance.
Learn more at: