10 Cool Shipping Container Homes

Innovative shipping container homes show just how good sustainable architecture can look.

By Sara Carpenter | Updated Aug 18, 2015 12:52 PM

Beach Box

Beach Box

Its location in the Hamptons may be flattering, but Andrew Anderson's Beach Box would look great just about anywhere. Although the exterior doesn’t overtly suggest the bones underneath, select areas of the interior reveal the corrugated steel of shipping containers, as the four-bedroom house leverages the material's immunity to salt and sea.



Container House

In his design for this San Antonio guesthouse, architect Jim Poteet celebrated rather than disguised the shipping container’s aesthetic, even maintaining its original color. An electric composting toilet, green roof, and bamboo floors help minimize the space’s eco-friendly footprint.


Container Studio

Shipping Container Studio

This art studio by MB Architecture is not far from the Beach Box. The client’s modest budget and desire for a simple design both pointed toward building from shipping containers. Painted dark charcoal to match the main house, the studio stands in harmony with its woody surroundings.


Off-the-Grid Retreat

Solar Container House

Container-made and solar-powered, this Colorado retreat gives new life to two shipping containers. Studio H:T cut out segments of the steel exteriors to serve as sliding doors between the bedrooms and the central common area, while concrete used throughout complements the containers’ industrial vibe.




The Spacebox at Utrecht University maximizes the benefits of container living. Because these structures are inexpensive and quick to build, the university can easily accommodate a growing student body. Although dorms often have an institutional look, the Spacebox’s colorful façade makes for campus housing any student would be lucky to call home!


12 Container House

12 Container House

Adam Kalkin created a massive abode that features a dozen shipping containers housed within a large warehouse-like structure. Two groups of containers, stacked in pairs, flank an open, glass-walled central area. Each "wing" offers support and space for the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and reading area.


Old Lady House

Old Lady House

It would be hard not to include more than one house from Kalkin. The so-called "Old Lady House" incorporates a bevy of shipping containers, but this time around Kalkin used drywall on the interiors to create a more traditional feeling. Bridged by a courtyard and outdoor terrace, the two-story dwelling is spacious and airy.


Manifesto House

Manifesto House

Architects James & Mau designed this Chilean home for eco-friendly construction company Infiniski. Hidden behind an envelope of wooden pallets, the containers' unusual arrangement gives the structure its unique form. The pallets serve double duty, providing both shade and cross-ventilation of fresh air.


WFH House

WFH House

The recycling of three containers in the WFH House is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to its eco-pedigree. A sustainably sourced bamboo façade, rainwater-collection system, solar cells, green roof and permeable paving all contribute to the structure’s carbon-neutral status. And it isn’t hard on the eyes either!




The Seatrain Residence, by the Office of Mobile Design, employed shipping containers and reclaimed steel to yield a sum vastly greater than its parts. Masking the structure's modest means of construction, the firm created a picturesque and cost-effective 3,000-square-foot home in the Brewery District of Los Angeles.


Container Homes

Shipping Container Architecture

Shipping container-based construction saves time, money, and materials—and it benefits the environment. While container homes may no longer be a novelty, this collection provides evidence that the trend may be here to stay.


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