Why are shipping container homes becoming so popular?

Well, once you see the pictures of the ones below, you’ll understand. Beyond the fact they look so cool, one reason is the eco-friendly aspect of repurposing something that is existing and in abundance. Secondly, shipping containers can be acquired at a reasonable cost: once they are emptied they most often remain at the destination point given the cost to ship them back is prohibitive.

With regard to comparison of costs to traditional construction, the jury appears to be divided, and perhaps this may depend on the extent of the modification and complexity of the job. Notwithstanding, it is important to factor the costs to rehabilitate these structures for use as a home, such as removing hazardous materials used on the exterior and interior ie paint and wood that contain chemicals, labour costs to cut openings in the structure and the reinforcement of load bearing walls once they’ve been opened up, for example.

When you look at this picture, it’s easy to see that there is a number of modifications just for doors and windows alone:

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Another point to consider is the importance of design and engineering expertise throughout the transformation process. Along with the physical constraints of working with the steel shells, there is the inflexibility of ceiling heights and rectangular shapes to work within. Regardless of these challenges, many have stepped up to the plate with amazing results. We’ve compiled a collection of beautiful container homes that exemplify precision in engineering and ingenuity in design. Have a look:

Czech architect Ales Javurek earned first prize in the Architectural Competition for his design of a two-story, 340 square meter shipping container home in Sydney Australia. The open concept main floor houses the main living areas, and the bedrooms are located on the second floor. The home has a green roof, and extensive glass is used throughout, providing amazing views, visual continuity and fresh airflow throughout the home.

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‘House Curacaví’ in Chile, was designed by James and Mau, using shipping containers and sustainable materials. Expansive use of glass offers amazing views and continuity between the indoor and outdoor space.

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The rugged weatherbeaten exterior of Casa El Tiemblo, also by James and Mau, is a stark contrast to the sleek and modern interior. Once again, an abundant use of glass creates an inviting and airy space seamlessly connected to the outdoors.

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This amazing two storey container home contrasts industrial features with sleek finishes, and sports an amazing roof top deck.

The Container Guest House by Poteet Architects is a simple and inviting space, warmed by wood finishes and splashes of color. The vibrant living roof softens the exterior of the container – rather than covered or camouflaged, is celebrated in its original form.

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This Studio H:T off-the-grid home is perched on a rock outcropping overlooking the Colorado mountains, and utilizes two shipping containers connected by a vaulted common space. While warm wood finishes clad the exterior walls, the rugged container walls remain exposed on the interior, and are complemented by polished concrete and open track glass garage doors maintaining an industrial feel.

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Ireland’s first shipping container home was completed by a group of volunteers in just three days. The incredible transformation of this 10×40 container was put on display at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, before being moved to a permanent home and donated to a family in need.

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This stunning two storey container home, designed by Olivero & Bland in Guatemala, boasts three bedrooms and spacious common areas. The exterior is finished with a combination of wood, stone and metal with plenty of glass for natural light and airflow.

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Now, containing yourself doesn’t sound so bad after all, does it?