Small, well-designed and low-cost homes are a key tool for building cities and dense communities where many people and families can live safely and comfortably while sharing resources efficiently. With the green theme growing in popularity across every stretch of the world, more and more people are turning to cargo container homes for green alternatives for office, and even new home, construction.

There are countless numbers of empty, unused shipping containers around the world just sitting on the shipping docks and taking up space.

The reason for this is that it’s too expensive for a country to ship empty containers back to the their origin in most cases, it’s just cheaper to buy new containers from Asia. The result is an extremely high surplus of empty shipping containers that are just waiting to become someone’s home or office.

Here are 7 of our favourite shipping container homes, offices and hotels.


The first official 2-story shipping container home in the US was designed by Southern California architect Peter DeMaria in 2006. The only big obstacle that he encountered during construction of his shipping container pad was making sure that the house passed all of the strict guidelines of the Uniform Building Code (UBC).


A bach “is the name given in New Zealand to structures akin to small, often very modest holiday homes or beach houses.They are an iconic part of New Zealand history and culture.” Wp

Cecile Bonnifait and William Giesen of atelier workshop have built a bach out of a box, a 20′ shipping container.This isn’t easy to do; they are narrow inside. They pulled it off by having one side of the container fold down to open it up to the outdoors; suddenly it is bright and open. (much like the All-terrain Cabin) Every inch of it is used cleverly, even the container doors become support for a bed. Port-a-Bach Shipping Container Holiday Home.


The world’s first hotel built from recycled shipping containers has popped-up in Uxbridge, West London. Each prefabricated container comes fully-equipped with fixtures, furniture, and windows from a factory in China.

The company, called Travelodge, says that constructing a hotel this way is 25% faster and 10% cheaper than the more traditional construction methods. Also, construction is much quicker, because all that has to be done is to fit each container together like it was a giant Lego set. Rooms at this London hotel start at about $30 per night. The London area may see more these ‘portable hotels’ pop-up around the city as the 2012 Olympics approaches.


Completed in 2003, this East London youth center took only 1 day to construct the exterior! The structure is composed entirely of 7 used storage containers. The result was a cost-effective solution to traditional construction. Mile End Youth Centre has been considered the future of inexpensive construction for buildings such as this one.


Check out this retro-looking prefabricated house located in the Austrian countryside. This inexpensive home was created by Espace Mobile who sell prefab homes like this one for between 55,000 and 95,000 Euros. Each one of these homes comes with a 3-year warranty, and each section of the house is 4 meters wide by 1-15 meters long. Each section can be pieced together to the customer’s liking. This place offers spectacular views of the countryside through its floor-to-ceiling windows.


The awesome Riverside Building in London is a masterpiece of storage container recycling. This large office building is constructed out of a total of 73 used storage containers. It took only 8 days to piece together each container into a total of 22 office space units. Construction of this building was completed in 2005, and the result was a cost-effective office space and awesome views of the Thames River.


This stunning home is almost like a piece of art that you can live in. Constructed using 12 recycled shipping containers, the 12 container home home has all of the modern conveniences of a traditionally built home but with a unique element of style as well. A modern kitchen, huge wide-open floor plan, and gigantic windows that bring in tons of natural lighting are just a few of the great features of this home, plus construction costs were relatively inexpensive when compared to traditional construction.

Some great books on shipping container homes below:





13 thoughts on “7 Amazing Converted Shipping Container Buildings
  • That youtube video was incredible. If all buildings could isolate and container fires to their point of origin that would save thousands of lives. I’ve seen the Redondo Beach house and it is awesome. Went by there not long ago and the owners have all kinds of recycled equipment, etc. in their yard and the place looks like a recyling center. Still the building is super innovative! the architect has another container building in Venice, CA that is even cooler.

    • For those businesses and inuidivdals, that do not have the long-term need or budget, to invest in shipping containers; container leasing provides an excellent storage/shipping alternative.

  • the DeMaria projects are unbelievable! I checked out their website, damn nice buildings

  • Wow! This is what I call innovation! Let’s bring more projects like this to America, and get some of our veterans off the streets. Our youth construction program will be starting on a 100 unit apartment building soon.

  • Hi, I think the Container City complex in Cholula, Mexico beats a lot of these container buildings. Have a look at it. It’s really interesting! Thanks for writing about these buildings. Very informative.

  • One funny idea idea I had about creating low cost(comparatively speaking of course) nuclear shelter capacity with reasonable comfort for the population of a country would be to use modular container apartments. For example rather than building all the rooms underground in the conventional sense which would be very costly, time consuming, and labor intensive one could instead hollow out a smaller number of large cylindrical caverns with a reinforced shell/hull and an internal support skeleton on which to stack these easily mass produced containers in a circle around the edge to leave essentially a subterranean modular skyscraper with a central atrium with lifts utilities e.t.c. e.t.c.

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