5 Incredible Container Houses

Overpopulation, migration and mobility characterize life and living today. Natural catastrophes frequently leave thousands of people homeless; indeed the very idea of home is less constant and more fluid today than it was just a generation ago, and personal space is now a luxury, making us reflect on how much space we really need.

Container homes are a fast, green, economical and surprisingly flexible alternative to traditional houses as they provide modern dwellings for any household size – from individual to family and community housing. We take a look at five container dwellings that show how living in a steel box can be stylish and environmentally friendly.

1. Multi-Container House, Redondo Beach, CA

This luxury beachfront residence was constructed by DeMaria Design and Logical Homes in 2006 using a combination of eight prefabricated, recycled shipping containers of various sizes with traditional building materials. One container even functions as a swimming pool. The house is said to be strong, mold-free, fire- and termite-proof and 70% of its construction occurred off site, therefore reducing construction waste. The architects are also working on more affordable container projects – a community center and multifamily housing.

Image: Lot-Ek

2. One-Container House by Lot-Ek, USA

This 40-foot one-container model, called Modular Dwelling Unit (MDU) by New York-based design company LOT-EK, is colorful, shows a clean design and was built with reused industrial materials. According to the company website, MDUs have been designed for “individuals moving around the globe.” That takes the question if one’s shipment has arrived to a whole new level!


3. Temporary Container Shelter LiNX by Richard Barnwall, Dublin

Four 20-foot containers make up the two-storey temporary shelter unit LiNX, which Dublin-based industrial designer Richard Barnwall had originally intended for construction workers use. However, by adapting the interiors, one can easily imagine its use as temporary or even permanent housing units.


4. 1000-Container Student Housing Project, Keetwonen, Amsterdam

For student housing project Keetwonen in Amsterdam, containers have been used to create 1,000 dorm units for Dutch students, making it the biggest container city in the world. It was launched by Tempo Housing in 2006. Not only does it look hip and provides all the amenities a student could ask for, it also has a rooftop used for rainwater drainage, heat dispersal and insulation of the units below. The award-winning project has received a lot of international attention and is so successful that its planned relocation after 5 years has been postponed until 2016.

5. Container City, London

Developers Urban Space Management used a flexible, component-based container construction system to build this city in the London Docklands in 2001. The demand was so high for these homes made from 80% recycled materials that by 2002 they had built a second city right next to it. Rather than following the 1 container = 1 unit concept, architect Nicholas Lacey and partners and engineer Buro Happold used component pieces to create adaptable living and work spaces.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9