9 Modern Homes Made Out of Shipping Containers

These shipping containers have left their itinerant lives as vessels that carried goods around the world, only to be reborn as structural and design elements of modern homes.
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The beauty of using shipping containers in construction projects may not be immediately obvious to the untrained eye, but architects and designers across the globe have figured out ways to use the durable, industrial structures as the building blocks of countless budget-friendly homes. Take a look as we go through some of our favorites.

1) Stacked Shipping Containers Inside a San Francisco Home

Shipping containers were adopted into the interior of this California home in order to break up the warehouse-like space. The containers are stacked, joined with steel tubes, and lashed to reinforced floor joints to make them earthquake-safe.

Three shipping containers were combined for client Mike McConkey, a superintendent for a general contractor, by Chris Bittner of OBR Architecture. In addition to the upcycled exterior, the interior is also sustainably oriented, with floors, appliances, and a bathroom vanity that were purchased from the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

To address the high humidity and warm weather in Jakarta while still staying on budget, design firm Atelier Riri combined four shipping containers and created openings that would allow for cross-ventilation. A red game room gives way to a second green space on the roof, which can be used as an extension of the indoor space.

Designed by architect Maria Jose Trejos for a photographer, the house consists of white-painted shipping containers that interlock so that they're positioned to create a light-filled courtyard. Two levels of shipping containers are stacked on top of one another to create the double-height main room—perfect for large events and easily altered so that it can be utilized as a photo studio for indoor shoots.

Bill Mathesius used 11 shipping containers in his largely self-designed home near the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border. The structure consists of eight shipping containers on the second floor and three on the third floor. By offsetting and halving some of the shipping containers, he was able to create a unique skylight in the main living space.

Designed by Adam Kalkin, eight reddish-orange shipping containers line the interior of this home, which has an exterior that resembles a glass-clad shed or warehouse. Individual rooms, like the living room, are nestled into shipping containers off of the main circulation space, with kitchen islands and sofas spilling out into the hallway.

Two shipping containers were raised up on piers and offset from each other to create this modern and compact home. The roof, made of scraps taken from the containers’ sides, creates a sense of openness from the inside and ushers in sunlight. Its slanted design creates a wind tower effect, providing natural ventilation that negates the need for air conditioning.

Architect Jim Poteet created this guesthouse for visiting artists at an artist community out of a single shipping container, but opened the small space to the outdoors with floor-to-ceiling glass. Sliding doors and midcentury furniture give it a modern, funky feel.

In Houston, Texas, designer Christopher Robertson played with texture and light by leaving the corrugated ceilings and walls exposed of the shipping containers that comprise this single-story home. By keeping the exteriors and interiors of the shipping containers white, their ridged texture is emphasized, and the interiors are kept cooler.


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