The best shipping container homes from around the world

Think inside the box with these tricked-out shipping container homes

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Do you have an inordinate amount of shipping containers? Are you trying to figure out what to do with all them? In the unlikely event that the answer to this question is “yes,” you’ll be pleased to learn that they’re far more practical than you may have imagined. And if, as is more likely, the answer is “no,” then good news! You can grab yourself a decent-size shipping container for just over $1,500 — sans renovations, of course.

Shipping containers are flood- and fireproof, making them a great home-building material. Ranging in length from 20 to 30 feet, shipping containers are typically only used for 10 to 15 years, but they can last much longer. It is estimated that there are 24 million empty shipping containers in the world that will never be used for cargo again. But, as the saying goes, one man’s retired shipping container is another man’s crazy, high-end modular home. What? That’s not a saying? It should be. Without further ado, here are some of the raddest shipping container homes on the planet.

WFH House

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Jens Markus Lindhe

Location: Wuxi, China

Design: Arcgency, Esbensen, Teknologisk Institut

The WFH House is coined as more than just architecture — it’s a sustainable product. The dwelling is a prefab home, meaning it can be exported anywhere in the world, though, the first model was finished in 2012 and is located in Wuxi, China. It’s equipped with solar cells and a green roof, not to mention an underground storage container for housing rainwater. The WGH House uses 40-feet-high shipping contains as the structural framework, rendering it adaptable earthquakes, climate change, and other local challenges.

Grillagh Water

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Patrick Bradley Architects

Location: Cavan, Ireland

Design: Patrick Bradley Architects

Located on the banks of the Grillagh River in Cavan, Ireland, the Grillagh River House is a hidden marvel situated in the rural countryside. The home is the first modern shipping container home designed and built in Ireland, one that utilizes four 45-foot shipping containers to create two cantilever forms. The home’s layout has been cleverly designed to take full advantage of the surrounding pastoral views, culminating in a home that’s as beautiful to look at as it is out of.

HO4+

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Honomobo

Location: Prefab home certified for California, Washington, British Columbia, and Alberta

Design: Honomobo

Made from four 40-foot shipping containers, the HO4+ is another prefab home that could be your new forever home. There are two floor plans currently available, one featuring three bedrooms and one bathroom, and another that consists of two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Both floor plans include a large living room, however, as well as a dining room and full kitchen, that latter of which is finished from floor to ceiling with glass. This single level home measures 1,224 square feet, and given its prefab nature, can be built anywhere.

Container Cabin the Catskills

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Porter

Location: Saugerties, New York

Design: Nowhere Studios

If you don’t want to fully commit to a shipping container home, you can stay in this cozy cabin in the Catskills Mountains for $195 a night. The 20-foot shipping container sits on 20 acres, and features a wood stove, sofa bed, kitchenette, and writing desk, among other modern amenities. With low-energy windows and sliding glass doors, staying warm isn’t an issue, nor is relaxing given the hammock, hot tub, and 64-square-foot yoga platform that reside just outside the residence. Needless to say, nature is rarely as accommodating.

Bard College Media Lab

Matthew Carbone

Location: Annandale-On-Hudson, New York

Design: MB Architecture

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but this media lab at Bard College apparently was. The installers reportedly assembled the structure on site in a mere half a day, costing a total of about $200,000. The two-story structure emphasizes tranquility, with open spaces to work in, an unassuming black and white color palate, and plentiful windows to let in natural light and give students a view of the trees just outside. A large garage door opens up, granting access to the main room. While it’s not technically a house, MB Architecture’s site states that the same design could be outfitted with a kitchen and bathrooms to make a functional living space.

Seven Havens

shipping container homes
Budi Pradono Architects

Location: Lombok, Indonesia

Design: Budi Pradono Architects

The Clay House — or “Seven Havens,” as it has come to be known as — was constructed in the southwestern portion of the Lombok province, which is located just east of Bali. This bodacious box home is nestled on a set of concrete stilts, allowing the residence to sit just above the hillside for optimal views of the Selong Belanak. The container that creates the ceiling of the master bedroom is also set at a 60-degree tilt, giving the room a wedge shape that faces the bay. Budipradono Architects used a similar slanted design technique — albeit, a steeper one — when constructing another private residence in Indonesia known locally as “The Leaning House of Jakarta.”

Devil’s Corner

Brown Brothers

Location: Apslawn, Tasmania

Design: Cumulus Studio

The design firm Cumulus Studio created this property for the Brown Brothers winery. The premises is comprised of three main sections, each of which provides guests with panoramic views of Moulting Lagoon, Freycinet Peninsula, and the Devil’s Corner vineyard. A series of timber-clad shipping containers surround an open-air terrace, where guests can imbibe the choicest of Tasmanian quaffs.

Ccasa Hostel

Ccasa Hostel

Location: Nha Trang, Vietnam

Design: TAK Architects

Vietnamese studio TAK Architects created this vibrant hostel near the center of Nha Trang. Within the walls of the property, a stack of polished shipping containers have been transformed into minimally furnished dormitories for wayfarers passing through southeast Asia. The pergola surrounding the individual containers helps to shield the units from direct sunlight during warmer months. The property is also just 600 feet from the beach, offering guests sweet, sandy solitude if they need to take a break from the bustling backpackers retreat.

Student housing project

Urban Rigger

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Design: Urban Rigger and Bjarke Ingels

Urban Rigger worked with architecture firm Bjarke Ingels to create this floating student housing project in Copenhagen. The main objective was to create affordable modular housing within the urban harbors. Individuals can rent a unit at Urban Rigger for just $600 per month, which is a steal considering Copenhagen is notoriously one of the most expensive cities on Earth. The homes include a private bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen with shared living spaces. The outside of the facility features community gardens, kayak landings, and bathing platforms. Canadian construction firm Honomobo is also creating modular, stackable housing using shipping containers.

Ecuadorian Container Home

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Lorena Darquea Schettini/Daniel Moreno & Sebastián Calero Architects

Location: Pichincha, Ecuador

Design: Daniel Moreno Flores and Sebastian Calero

Designed by architecture powerhouse couple Daniel Moreno Flores and Sebastian Calero, this shipping container home is situated in central Ecuador. The team used a total of seven 20-foot shipping containers and one 40-foot container to build the sprawling abode. The home, which is made of a host of individual modules, can be quickly disassembled and transported for a sudden change of scenery.

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