innovative shipping container building ideas

Inspiring self-build home ideas using shipping containers

Projects that push the boundaries of building with freight containers

By Hugh Metcalf | 5 March 2020

First released in 2010, Container Atlas, published by gestalten, has been the seminal literature examining the repurposing of freight containers as a building material for the past decade.

For its 2020 update, the book, edited by Hans Slawik, Julia Bergmann, Matthias Buchmeier and Sonja Tinney, features 28 new projects all built in the last 10 years that have continued to push the boundaries of building with shipping boxes.

From acting as prefab structures for small footprint homes to creative concepts that elevate these simple rectangles to bold, new architectural heights, take a look at some of the newest and most innovative builds.

Joshua Tree, Whitaker Studio

Inspired by the growth of crystals in a laboratory, the Mojave Desert in California is the perfect location to bring this conceptual build to life. Made from 19 shipping containers welded together, each spoke has been carefully situated to suit the internal use to the exterior landscape. The property is due for completion in 2020.

Whitaker Studio shipping container design from Container Atlas, gestalten

Photo: Whitaker Studio. From Container Atlas, gestalten, 2020

Pachacutec House, TRS Studio

This housing concept (below), created by TRS Studio, uses shipping containers as a base of the structure, with a polycarbonate plastic roof that floods the home with light. The idea behind these structures is to offer an alternative for Peruvian communities that struggle with  shortage in housing supply and sourcing building materials.