171 Exterior Shipping Container Design Photos And Ideas

Amagansett Modular House by MB Architecture
Sited on a typical 25-by-100-foot corner lot in Brooklyn, this 5,000-square-foot residence was built with 21 stacked shipping containers cut diagonally along the top and bottom to create a step-like structure with four tiered levels and a small pool between the two lower levels.
In February of 2007, two San Francisco art and travel addicts purchased a 3,200-square-foot former Chinese laundry and tooth-powder factory with column-free interiors and a zigzagging sawtooth roof in lower Pacific Heights. They customized a pair of shipping containers to accommodate their collection and reflect their passions, and hired a local company to sandblast the interior to expose the board-formed concrete walls and replace the carpeted floors with Georgia hickory pecan planks to further lengthen the loft and make it look more like a warehouse.
A glassed-in walkway connects the open-plan living areas to a separate bedroom wing.
The architecture follows the natural contours of the wedge-shaped site: the building is placed on higher ground on the site’s wider east end, while exterior decking steps down to the pool to the west.
“The structural design of the 10' pop-out on the second floor is unique. There are no beams under it—it looks afloat,” explains Behrooz, who notes that the pop-out was originally cut down from a 20-foot container. “Technically it is not a cantilever—but it is structured from the top (roof) and held back in tension, down to the foundation on the opposite side. It’s kind of a structural breakthrough—we used the inherent structural strength of the containers to our advantage.”
The architects applied BM marine-grade paint to the containers’ corrugated metal walls. The home is deliberately compact to match the scale of the neighborhood homes
A glimpse into one of two bedrooms housed in the single, 40-foot container placed on the north side of the site.
The container house is designed to wrap around an existing oak tree.
Photovoltaic panels top the roof of the building.
The underside of each solar fin was painted a metallic burnt orange as a reminder of the COR-TEN steel that the containers are constructed from.
The end face of the containers were cut out and replaced with a fixed double-glazed window that spans the height of the unit. The glass is fritted on the lower part for privacy.
The shipping containers are stacked five across and five high. The modular system enables the building to be dismantled and relocated at the end of Stow-Away’s lease.
Located on one of London’s oldest market streets, Lower Marsh, Stow-Away Waterloo is within close distance to many of the city’s most popular tourist destinations.
The units were designed to accommodate green roofs, which were part of the initial design intent, but put on hold for budgetary reasons.
The project is designed to encourage outdoor living and communal interaction among residents. In addition to the central gathering space, front-facing porch swings and covered outdoor spaces nudge homeowners to relax and socialize.
AHMM kept 10 existing trees and introduced other local plants that would be able to absorb rainwater runoff from the buildings, paths, and paving.
The car ports at Squirrel Park were designed to segue from the street to the lot entrance, which then leads to a central green space. The ports can also accommodate solar panels in the future.
If you've never set foot within a shipping container home, you might imagine them to be simple rectangles with no real consideration put into design, proportion, and the division of rooms. Well, think again: these floor plans prove that shipping container homes can be efficient, sustainable, and even exciting.
Winner of an AIA Colorado Citation Award, the Container House is a 1,500-square-foot container home that includes recycled materials, green roofs, and a photovoltaic system.
Honomobo is also behind the Honomobar, a 100-square-foot mobile bar built from a recycled shipping container.
Located at The Proxy in Hayes Valley, San Francisco, AETHERsf is a concept space constructed from three 40-foot shipping containers stacked on top of each other. In addition to a curated selection of design-focused outerwear, the space features a custom, glass-encased cantilevered lounge, reclaimed oak floors, and a belt-driven "dry cleaner"-style conveyor system.
These 20-foot shipping containers are repurposed into stunning luxurious hotel rooms.
Australia-based firm Contained specializes in transforming vessels that originally hauled heavy cargo all over the world into well-designed lodgings. The portable structures have the unique ability to travel almost anywhere. Each 20-foot container easily opens up, flips out, and unfolds into an individual hotel room that opens up to the surrounding landscape, wherever that may be.
As the story goes, Contained directors Anatoly Mezhov and Irene Polo envisioned these as ephemeral accommodations placed where there were no previous options. Born out of their love of traveling, the idea was to create a portable hotel room for short stays that can be set up anywhere.
Eight shipping containers, shifted and cut along a 45-degree angle, are combined in a fishbone pattern to create a sculptural, arrow-shaped volume that’s raised almost 10 feet above ground. Designed by New York firm LOT-EK, the building serves as an art school near the Hakwoon park pedestrian walkway in Anyang, as well as a focal point and landmark structure for the city of Anyang.
Made of scraps taken from the containers’ sides, the roof 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.
The open-concept Coromandel Bach is a container home that reinterprets the New Zealand building tradition of crafting wood. Located on the North Island’s Coromandel Peninsula, this container house captures the beautiful simplicity of living with nature. Natural timber provides a seamless connection to its surroundings. Designed by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects, this unique holiday home can be easily boxed up when not in use. A simple mechanism opens the deck upon arrival. The house has a simple rectangular open plan that extends the interior space to the outside and the ocean beyond.
Nestled on a family farm, this South African shipping-container cabin is completely off the grid. Located on owner Lucas Steyn’s family farm in Botrivier, a 90-minute drive from Capetown, Copia is an eco-retreat comprised of two shipping-container cabins in the South African countryside.
Made of two 40-foot-long shipping containers offset from one another, the Model 6 by IndieDwell offers 640 square feet of living space.
A prefabricated kit house, the Quik House by Adam Kalkin is designed from recycled shipping containers. Its 2,000-square-foot plan includes three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths. The shell can be assembled in one day, and the entire home built in three months or less.
Atelier Riri devised creative ways to make living inside a shipping container in Indonesia’s tropical climate both comfortable and economical. The architects layered recycled pine, glass wool, and planter mesh on top of the home to help keep temperatures down.
While shopping for containers, owner Stacey Hill was instantly drawn to this one’s existing blue color and chose to buy it and leave it as is. Architect Jim Poteet added floor-to-ceiling sliding doors to allow light in, as well as a cantilevered overhang to shade a window on the left side, which houses a small garden storage area.
Known as the "project that kicked off Cargotecture," Hybrid’s Studio 320 was fabricated in 2004 and delivered to Enumclaw, Washington. The interior is lined in reclaimed plywood formerly used on the bleachers of a local high school gym.
Clad in white HardiePlank siding, the duplex was designed to mimic the industrial look of the shipping container extensions.
Two San Francisco art and travel addicts overhauled a loft—and customized a pair of shipping containers—to accommodate their collection and reflect their passions.
Bold, red-colored shipping containers were used to create a (12 meter long) visitor area extension for the National Theatres Company of Korea. Designed as a social zone for theatregoers, the space was equipped with internal sliding partition walls that can be opened or closed to allow for flexible use of the interior spaces.
Established in 1997, Artisans Group in Olympia designs modern homes throughout the greater Seattle and Portland areas. Their design-build models allow the company to provide full design services, and thanks to a partnership with Phoenix Haus—a Passive House panel fabricator—they are now able to develop Passive House prefab homes.
Texas architect Jim Poteet helped Stacey Hill, who lives in a San Antonio artists’ community, wrangle an empty steel shipping container into a playhouse, a garden retreat and a guesthouse for visiting artists.
"Each project is unique and requires a customized design, communication, and implementation strategy with an integrated design process and approach by a team tailor, the necessary specialists are recruited internally or externally," says sculp(it) of Antwerp, Belgium.
Purchasing a lot off the Delaware River in Pennsylvania, Martha Moseley and Bill Mathesius adapted an unused concrete foundation—remnants of its previous owner’s abandoned plans—to create a home that’s uniquely their own. “We were inspired by the site, and our desire to have something cool and different,” says Moseley.
Dietert Ranch by Thotenberry Wellen Architects is located in Midland, Texas and exudes a rustic feel despite its industrial materials.
Designed for an artist and entrepreneur client, this guest house features lots of light, access to the outdoors, and an industrial vibe.
French hotel group AccorHotels road tested the Flying Nest in various locations. The nomadic rooms will sit at the ski resort until the end of March.
The self-sufficient rooms are connected by small terraces.
The stackable rooms are clad in eco-friendly wood paneling and they can be quickly assembled on-site.
The Flying Nest's current incarnation is called Avoriaz 1800—a reference to the hotel's location at 1,800 meters above sea level.
The mobile hotel rooms are made from repurposed shipping containers. Here they are shown stacked in a warehouse and ready to be deployed.
A narrow and long 8 by 40 feet empty steel shipping container in an artists’ community in San Antonio, Texas serves a playhouse, garden retreat, and guesthouse for visiting creatives.
Insta-House by MB Architects
M02 by HONOMOBO
Workshop and Golf Tees by Back Country Containers
160-square foot Writer's Shack by Montainer Homes
Happy Twogether by Custom Container Living
Grannis Road House by Ty Kelly
Front Porch Living by Custom Container Living
Project Name: Pinellas Park
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Zoom out for a look at the modern exterior. From your dream house, to cozy cabins, to loft-like apartments, to repurposed shipping containers, these stellar projects promise something for everyone. Explore a variety of building types with metal roofs, wood siding, gables, and everything in between.