You’ll Never Guess What These Architects Are Recycling as Living Space

File this under “most creative recycling project ever”: would you ever consider living in a shipping container?

You’re probably picturing bare metal walls, some makeshift furniture, a vacant lot near the docks. These containers used to be abandoned after a few years of carrying cargo; they’d be left to rust while taking up space on waterfronts around the world. But some cutting-edge architects are taking these containers and recycling them into homes you’d envy. They’re also using them to produce low-cost office and retail space. Take the Container Cities of London:

Container City

io9 collects more of these fantastic designs, quoting a wry resident: “It’s like the TARDIS: actually a lot bigger inside than it looks from outside.” The technique has been pioneered abroad, but American designers are catching on. There’s a Starbucks in Chicago made out of these things, for instance, and a brand-new apartment complex, still under construction, in New Haven, CT.

The containers are a solid building frame that can sell for less than a thousand dollars. Brian Clark Howard writes for Popular Mechanics:

While a number of resourceful people have converted shipping containers to makeshift shelters at the margin of society for years, architects and green designers are also increasingly turning to the strong, cheap boxes as source building blocks. Shipping containers can be readily modified with a range of creature comforts, and can be connected and stacked to create modular, efficient spaces for a fraction of the cost, labor and resources of more conventional materials. (more)

The possibilities are really limitless — garden sheds, emergency housing in natural disaster situations, even artists’ retreat bungalows:


Here at ShareMySpace we’re always excited to see new and innovative ways of bringing abandoned and underused spaces to life, and this is one of the most creative. Imagine the possibilities if shipping containers no longer ended their lives as waterfront clutter. Not only would our shorelines be cleaner, but we’d have a plethora of greener houses, cafes, shops, and offices everywhere. Brilliant!


Header photo credit: / GNU Free Documentation License