Shipping Container Architecture

Shipping container architecture’s popularity is gaining worldwide. It is often seen as a greener alternative to traditional building methods. There are many obvious advantages of using shipping containers as a form of architecture. They include structural strength and durability, the modular aspect of the container means design simplification and ease of transportation. They can also be pre-finished in a controlled environment and easily transported to their final destination. Shipping containers are easily available anywhere in the world.

In order for the containers to be fit for human habitation they will require vigorous cleaning and disposal of any harmful chemicals including insecticides (copper, chromium and arsenic). Often abrasive sandblasting is carried out to all internal surfaces and repainting with non-toxic paints.

Examples of successful shipping container architecture are everywhere. Besides housing, other container architecture includes hotels, pop-up facilities at events, market stalls, medical clinics, recording studios and shopping malls.

Puma City

Puma City is a 11000 sq foot demountable retail space using 24 refurbished shipping containers that can be packed up and shipped anywhere in the world.


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‘SPACE’ by metalab, houston, texas, USA

In collaboration with University of Houston, Houston based practice Metalab designed and built ‘SPACE’. A re-purposed shipping container prototype off-grid field office designed to be a self-sustained first response centre that supports rapid deployment.





Re-Start City Mall, Christchurch, NZ

After the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand 27 shops made from shipping containers were re-purposed as retail premises. They were not the first container mall in the world when they were built. Other similar examples can be found in Mexico’s Cholula and Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.




Herniman Group was asked to put together a schematic design for a motel in Victoria. The brief asked for a low environmental impact solution for a motel. The design features solar panels and wind generated power solution. 53 shipping containers were used for this compact motel design. A green wall is the main wall feature that faces the main street.



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