Modern shipping container homes are popular due to their versatility and affordability. Despite having a pre-made shape containers can be stacked in a lot of different ways to produce unusual forms for modern dwellings. Thanks to their low price (about 2,000 per container) they can be used to produce not only modern houses and retreats for less, but also used in construction of low-income housing.
Shipping containers aren’t always a perfect solution to housing problems though. They are poorly insulated and present an array of different other issues and challenges that the prospective homeowners should be aware of. But after all if you’re looking to reduce the cost of your prefab and create a dream home, shipping containers might be at least a useful construction material.
Modern Shipping Container Homes and Retreats
Architect Adam Kalkin is mostly known for his modern shipping container home designs that are so innovative and stylish, they could easily become the poster homes for cargotecture (a term coined for shipping container architecture).
The Adriance house is made of 12 shipping containers and is located in Northern Maine. Its area is estimated at 4,000 square feet (371 sq m) and it features glazed walls at both sides of the structure separated from the outside world with only dark curtains. Kalkin has worked with Butler to construct this fabulous home.
This modern house featured on HGTV belongs to Keith Lasseigne who built it in Austin, Texas. The exterior betrays the secret that the house was made out of shipping containers but when you step inside there isn’t a trace of that.
The wooden floors, impeccable style, and modern appliances – all make this house look ultra modern and even luxurious.
We found this black and white house on IdealKConstruction among the collection of other modern shipping container homes and it’s gorgeous. The ground level is almost fully glazed offering the indoor/outdoor atmosphere.
The more private second floor can be accessed from both inside and outside of the home and the staircase is shielded from the outside world with a double wall matching with the house’s colors.
Shipping containers aren’t just for the private homes though. They are successfully used for building office buildings, stores, and restaurants, so why not an apartment building? La Aduana is an apartment building in Mexico made out of 36 containers.
Designed by Mario Plasencia it is partially covered with wooden slat screens and the original container doors make for the apartment balconies. Modern shipping container homes are simply made to solve housing problems.
Containers make for wonderful retreats where you can pretty much live indefinitely, especially if the climate allows it or the home was properly designed to meet every kind of weather. This Canyon City container cabin is the epitome of modern design.
There’s lots of glass and the containers are seemingly stacked in a pretty loose manner. Built by Tomecek Studio Architecture the house makes use of one 40′ container and six 20′ ones and has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and even the guest quarters.
Casa Incubo is an incredible example of modern shipping container homes. Designed by architect Maria José Trejos for a professional photographer the house embraces the cedar tree on site and provides enough lighting for working and living.
The shipping containers are used as they are aside from a few openings for windows here and there. The glass sliding doors on the ground floor are shielded with sliding wooden panels. The wooden deck that seems to extend from the house floors features built in lights and the additional awning and roof increase sun protection.
The Caterpillar House by Sebastián Irarrázaval is a prefab effort that makes an ultra-modern home for an art collector and his family. Using five 40′ standard containers and six 20′ containers the architect created a house that cantilevers over the site.
To create a swimming pool the architect chose a 40′ open top container, which is a great idea if you’re looking to cut costs linked to building and maintaining the pool.
The glass inserts allow the light in and the views of the surrounding nature while the white curtains provide with privacy and make for a beautiful decorative element.
This modern weekend home found on ContainerForStorage consists of two 40′ containers aligned parallel to each other to create a spacious enough abode. The containers’ original look was preserved with a couple of windows and wooden accents added in the process.
The house features a small outside deck that invites to step inside where there are hardwood floors, HVAC system, two bedrooms and a modern furnished kitchen.
Container Love by LHVH Architekten looks like a typical modern prefab and, well, it probably is, but it is also a good representation of modern shipping container homes. The two containers were used to create a single-storey home with an inner courtyard with a terrace created thanks to the alignment.
The house had just four weeks of production phase and was delivered to be fitted with wires and piping on site.
The result is a $40,000 home with a roof made of scrap metal resulted from making the windows and a modern interior design that can compete with any regular home.
Both the exterior and interior are pretty minimalist and practical. The containers were merged together to provide more space and insulated to make the house livable.
This Low Cost House was created by JYA-RCHITECTS for a family who lived in a shabby home infested with rats. The tight budget determined the building materials, which turned out to be colorful shipping containers.
To solve the insulation issues the architects went for a house in a house structure that also created a deck space between the containers, which totaled at 1,085 square feet (100.8 sq m).
EcoTechDesign created this house from shipping containers using prefabrication methods. The house consists of different units that are already equipped with necessary wiring and other things.
Each unit takes just 15 minutes to erect and the result is a Martian facility kind of looking futuristic house. You’d think most modern shipping container homes looked like this but this Hybridhouse_1 is unique.
Grillagh Water House by Patrick Bradley Architects is built out of 4 shipping containers that are hardly recognizable from the shape of the house. It might as well have been a modern house built from scratch but the beauty of cargotecture is that it’s cheaper and faster to build.
Containers allowed the architect to preserve the original aesthetics of the modern structure with clever siding and creative architectural elements but also make the house more affordable.
This aqua-colored structure found on Freshome sits in Arizona Kansas City and is a home to an industrial designer Debbie Glassberg. The house has a complex structure and certainly stands out among other modern shipping container homes.
The 2,600 square feet (241 sq m) property features a rooftop edible garden, a hidden pantry and incredible corrugated aqua walls.
This house in Marseille was designed by architects Claire Helene Drouin and Jean Marie Sanchez and made out of 15 shipping containers. Built into a cliff the house has views of the port and looks like a modern building for the most part.
Here and there the shipping containers give away the secret of the structure but it’s still a very stylish design.
Built out of 8 shipping containers this house in Pennsylvania has a concrete ground floor and shows how containers can be used to extend the existing structure. Moseley-Mathesius Residence was a creation of Martha Moseley and Bill Mathesius.
A part of the concrete structure was left unoccupied, which left space for a spacious terrace and the structure made of containers was done the same way to create another such terrace.
Kalkin House may be a gallery for contemporary design but it still looks and feels as a modern house. This is another project of the architect Adam Kalkin, popular for his amazingly stylish modern shipping container homes.
Made of stacked containers it features a grass facade and long white curtains on the outside of the structure that give it an enigmatic feel, especially when the curtains are closed. On the inside there are loft spaces that make different rooms and a modern kitchen that stands right in the middle of the house.
The shorter part of the house accommodates kitchen, living room, dining area, and laundry while the longer one is used for bedrooms.
Maison Container Lille is the work of an architect Patrick Partouche who built it for a single family. Consisting of 8 containers the house boasts a 2,238 square feet (208 sq m) area, glazed facade with preserved original doors from the shipping containers that can be closed to increase privacy.
The house’s red color makes it stand out in a field but its pitched roof gives it a more familiar traditional touch.
Manifesto house by James & Mau Arquitetura looks like it was covered with palettes because it was. The structure made of shipping containers features a complex system of palette shutters that probably help prevent the house from overheating in Chile climate.
The shutter system extends to create a suspended terrace that can be accessed from inside the house. And the big shutter door increases privacy and provides a great sun awning for a dining area in front of the house.
If you’re looking to create a compact home shipping container is a great source. It can be your walls, your roof. A single container alone can become a house. It is all a matter of design and planning.
Architect Chris Bittner of OBR Architecture has created this modest 800 square-foot (74 sq m) San Diego home for his client to be able to enjoy the outdoors.
Old Lady House is another work of Adam Kalkin. It represents the two two-storey structures connected with a bridge and makes for a perfect home to share with your guests or parents.
The second structure can be used for an art studio or a home office and in the middle there is a beautiful fenceless private garden.
PV14 House is proof that shipping containers can make houses as big as any other materials. This gorgeous modern residence located in Dallas, Texas looks like a hotel or a museum, but rather something in between. However, it is pretty cozy on the inside.
Designed by M Gooden Design the house features a swimming pool, concrete floors, and the modern appliances.
Redondo Beach House is a spacious abode designed by DeMaria Design. Consisting of several stacked containers the house uses other materials to increase privacy.
Since this is a Beach house it features two rooms that are completely open to the views of the locale and other glass inclusions to allow plenty of natural light in.
Shipping containers are great for building additions and extensions for the main house like guest quarters, garden sheds, home offices, and other such amenities. Guest House by Jim Poteet is a modern and stylish navy blue prefab with a roof garden and a porch deck.
The house parts are made of sustainable materials like HVAC equipment pads (recycled soda bottles) and recycled telephone poles. The back of the house is equipped with a screen for supporting the crawling sprawling plants.
This incredibly cute house is located in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Consisting of three containers house boasts an area of 1,937 square feet (180 sq m) and a swimming pool built into a wooden deck on which it sits.
Designed by Drozdov & Partners the house has a modern shape that separates each zone from one another.
Shipping Container House by Studio H:T has an interesting shape and aesthetic. It’s far from the usual rectangular prefabs although it obviously makes use of the rectangular shapes of containers.
Clad in two typed of wood the house disguises itself in the natural background and uses photovoltaics on the roof to produce electricity.
Casa El Tiemblo is a modern designed by James & Mau Arquitectura that as many houses today combines the indoor outdoor spaces with glazed walls on the ground floor. The more private quarters are located on the second level that features a window strip in a long narrow container wall.
Interestingly the architects made use of the original container doors to create a balcony on the side of the house.
Six Oaks residence by Modulus sits in a redwood forest with 1,200 square feet (111 sq m) of space and the preserved original exterior of the six shipping containers left intact. The house includes glass inclusions here and there to illuminate the house.
The floor boards are also made of recycled materials making this house a quite sustainable piece of architecture.
This small inexpensive prefab is called MEKA home and it presents a shipping container dressed in cedar. At a cost of just $100 per square foot the small dwelling can come with a deck and can be built in just a few days.
These beautiful compact houses may be the only way for some to own a piece of property but regardless of their size they can be made into pretty livable homes. Modern shipping container homes are quite flexible when it comes to extensions and all kinds of expansions.
The Beach Box looks pretty modest not only thanks to its shipping container structure but also natural wood cladding and general sense of space. Located in the Hamptons the abode is just 600 feet from the ocean, which makes it an attractive housing option but it comes with a hefty price tag of $1,395,000 (probably due to location).
Built out of just six containers the house area is around 2,000 square feet (185 sq m) with a 1,300-square-foot (120 sq m) deck. Most modern shipping container homes are much more affordable however the cost may also depend on where you’re choosing to settle.
This incredible house in Brisbane found on Inhabitat was designed by Todd Miller of ZieglerBuild. Made out of 31 stacked shipping containers the house is partially clad with wood and looks like a luxurious modern residence.
The impression of luxury is strengthened with a saltwater pool, wooden floors and incredible art featured on the walls in some rooms. Modern shipping container homes cannot get more luxurious than this.
Made of two containers this house was designed by Spray Architecture for living and working, or rather creating. One of the containers includes the living spaces and has a flexible layout while the other is a sculpture workshop.
Set in a small green village in France the house named ‘Un Dernier Voyage’ looks like a perfect artistic retreat.
Upcycle House by Lendager Arkitekter is a modern residence that looks nothing like any of the shipping container houses that we’ve seen. It’s sleek and minimalist and it’s more sustainable that you may think.
While the structure is built out of containers the facade cladding is actually made of recycled aluminium soda-cans. The interior design is made with champagne cork-leftovers, recycled glass, and post-consumer recycled granulated paper.
Week End House 2 by Jure Kotnik Arhitekt is a fun-looking structure made of stacked shipping containers painted in black with funky pink dots. Located in Slovenia the house makes for a perfect retreat.
There are a lot of ways to make your shipping containers look good. And that includes encasing them in wood or glass, depending on the look you’re going for. Many like to simply paint them though. The beauty of modern shipping container homes is that they can look however you like.
WFH shipping container house by Arcgency doesn’t look at all like an example of cargotecture that it is. But if you look inside the wooden clad you’ll see two stacked shipping containers making the two-storey part of the house.
The roof lawn makes for better insulation and with shipping containers every method (of insulation) should at least be considered.
This is a second in a series of modern shipping container homes in Michigan, according to Curbed. Made with five 40′ and two 20′ containers the house fits in so well with the neighborhood, it’s hardly noticeable it’s cargotecture.
The three bedroom dwelling boasts 2,250-square-foot (209 sq m) and a stylish tricolor facade with huge windows.
The wood-clad container features a glazed side wall to allow the natural light in but the rest of it seems very private thanks to a continuous wooden structure.
Before you plan to build or especially buy a shipping container home there are more details to think about and take into consideration than you may think or know. Modern shipping container homes are built with most conveniences in mind but you may want to account for things like changing weather and additional insulation. Shipping containers though sturdy aren’t perfect for living but you can make them pretty habitable with careful planning and smart design. The designs of modern shipping container homes are very diverse so you don’t have to worry about expressing your individuality and taste.