If you think the function of large cargo containers boils down to mere shipping and transport purposes, you’re greatly mistaken: in the world where everything can be re-purposed and recycled, containers too have taken on some novel roles and are now often used as primary material in architecture and construction industry. Let’s take a quick look at some creative ideas for re-purposing used shipping containers, shall we?
Modular design: Container-based housing structures
A relatively new trend in the world of architecture and building industry, large, multi-story shipping container structures are gaining popularity in the U.S. and the rest of the world fast. Easily stack-able, cost-efficient and optimally insulated to stand up to any climate, containers can be used as the primary material to build a modular home anywhere you like it.
Some well-known examples of container-based home architecture include Arizona’s Container House by Ecocosa Design Studio, Containers of Hope in Costa Rica by Benjamin Garcia Saxe, the Chilean Caterpillar House by Sebastián Irarrázaval, Golany Architect’s Two-Tree House in Jerusalem and Crossbox House in France by CG Architectes.
The times of need: Containers in disaster relief and emergency shelters
Thanks to their convenient prefabricated nature and relatively easy transport, cargo containers can be used to build makeshift shelters for people in disaster-hit areas. Simple to process and furnish with the bare accommodation necessities, storage containers offer good protection from the elements.
With some additional insulation, these temporary shelters can also serve as a mid-term housing solution for victims of natural disasters whose homes were destroyed in floods, fires, earthquakes or large-scale man-made accidents. In times of emergencies, bedding and ablution facilities are a precious asset, and recent debates among emergency response experts have concluded that modular and container-based facilities can truly save lives in dire crisis situations.
Playing with building bricks: From cargo containers to studios and offices
Apart from housing architecture, shipping containers have also found their new purpose in the construction of office, studio and commercial spaces. Thanks to their favorable quality-to-price ratio, shipping containers have become a go-to material for architects and designers looking to build cost-efficient yet highly effective shopping centers, art studios and temporary offices.
If you’re considering using spare cargo containers to build a makeshift office or studio, check out designboom’s Summer Residence in Sardinia, Decameron Design Shop in Brazil by Studio MK27, the Berlin-based Platoon Kunsthalle by Platoon and Container Studio by Maziar Behrooz Architecture: each of these stunning container-built structures will inspire and encourage you to pursue your dream of building affordable yet high-quality office or studio.
Accessory facilities made easy: Shipping containers as alternative storeroom
If you happen to need a new tool shed, garden cabin or extra space to accommodate all your precious tools, machinery and other belongings that require dry storage, you may want to consider cargo containers. Widely available, durable and strong enough to stand any set of unfavorable elements, cargo containers can be re-purposed into any accessory facility you need or turned into space for almost anything or any purpose you can think of.
Thanks to their convenient housing, transport and storage functions, long life span and low procurement costs, cargo containers are definitely a material for the future.
Written by John Stone
Exclusively for Homes Re-Imagined, LLC