In urban environments where space is scarce and building materials are expensive, a new trend is rising in popularity: shipping containers, which are normally used to transport goods overseas or through rail, are being used to construct buildings for individuals and for the public.
Shipping container development has become a facet of contemporary architecture, as well as an option for eco-friendly construction; because the containers were previously used for shipping, using them for development is a large-scale form of recycling.
These four uses for shipping containers are only a few of the possibilities for development of this unique material.
Tiny houses, created from a single shipping container, are rapidly becoming more well-known, especially in developing countries where building materials are scarce or expensive. However, the trend is gaining traction in more developed nations as well; in the United States, micro-homes are usually used by homeowners that want something other than the conventional experience, and are comfortable with a small living space. For example, shipping container homes have taken states such as Kentucky and Tennessee by storm.
2. Community spaces
Several shipping containers can be used to create a space that is open to the public, to be enjoyed by all. One example is this project undertaken by Detroit’s First Container, which plans to use the space for community events such as storytelling, and offers free WiFi for people to stop by and relax.
Shipping container buildings have also been used for low-income housing or housing for the homeless in areas around the world; the low cost of building and maintaining such a home makes it appealing for development of such projects.
3. Large homes
When combined together into a larger structure, shipping containers have many advantages that more conventional homes don’t. The aesthetic appeal is growing in popularity as these homes take on a contemporary look; furthermore, shipping containers create a structure that is often more resistant to the elements, as well as to the effects of insects and natural deterioration, than wood. For example, shipping container homes meet hurricane and seismic codes, and aren’t in danger of fire, mold, or leaks.
Another advantage is the eco-friendly nature of these containers; since the containers would otherwise be thrown away, re-using them for development is a way to reduce waste and create a home that recycles with its very structure.
Businesses are beginning to use the shipping container model to create innovative, attention-grabbing, and eco-friendly storefronts. For example, Ska Brewing, a brewery in Durango, CO that has its World Headquarters and Tasting room there, recently opened The Container Restaurant, which is built from two shipping containers stacked one on top of the other. The restaurant has received widespread support and acclaim from visitors, both for its food and its eco-friendly nature! Other businesses, from furniture stores to restaurants, are also trying out the shipping container model, especially in crowded urban areas such as San Francisco.