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Twelve shipping containers combined into a modern mountain house

Have you ever watched a caterpillar inching along the ground? Well, this distinctive pinching pattern serves as the unusual inspiration for this interesting house designed by Chile architect Sebastian Irarrazaval. Located high above Lo Barnechea, Santiago de Chile, this cool house was designed for an art collector with a definite edge. The prefabricated home is created using a dozen shipping containers, which were configured and assembled on site in this stunning location overlooking the mountains and the city skyline. The modern industrial exterior is matched by its cool interior design, which focuses as much on the minute details as the bigger picture on the other side of the glass. check it out.

twelve shipping containers combined into a modern mountain house 1 thumb 630x420 13162 Twelve shipping containers combined into a modern mountain house

twelve shipping containers combined into a modern mountain house 2 thumb 630x430 13164 Twelve shipping containers combined into a modern mountain house

From the street, the house is virtually non-existent, but for four skylights peeking out over the hilltop.


The Andes foothills offers a dramatic backdrop to call “home,” offering fresh air and green space on the outskirts of a dense urban center. But this dramatic site also posed some obstacles, namely the rocky terrain and steep slope of the site. To minimize construction time and costs, the house was prefabricated and assembled on site, consisting of 12 shipping containers configured to create a contemporary, 3,700 sq. ft. house that zigzags along the landscape. The containers are placed horizontally, with inclined rear volumes pointing up toward the sky.


The containers were welded together on location, and clad in steel plates which were allowed to weather and rust, giving them a natural, aged look that blends in with these rocky surroundings.


Each of these volumes features a glass facade looking out over the landscape, while the inclined ends are also glazed with skylights, flooding interiors with natural light.


Balconies provide direct access to the outdoors, promoting natural ventilation and an alfresco air inside the home.


Just sit back and steal a precious moment to yourself…


This house is not short on outdoor entertaining areas – a topless shipping container is devoted to a swimming pool, surrounded by a wood deck separated from the indoors through a massive glass wall.


Like the home’s facade, interiors feature a material palette of low-maintenance, low-cost elements which combine to create a modern, industrial aesthetic.


Wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling glazing invites the outdoors in, transforming the mountains into an ever-present focal point. The openness of the design gives the house an outdoor pavilion feel, sheltered yet open to the views.


The open concept kitchen, living and dining area promotes a social lifestyle in this sweeping space, with continuous exposed concrete, steel beams, and natural wood floors that scream “shabby chic!”


But the wide open spaces don’t compromise privacy by any means. Balancing public and private living, this house enjoys its secluded spots to soak up some quiet time – just you and the view.


The home is an artful combination of closed off and open, the steel walls coming up against wide open glass.


While glass begins and ends each volume, windows placed on the interior walls of the shipping containers create an open dialogue between these separate spaces and the surrounding landscape.


Tucked between the volumes, sheltered alfresco spaces invite light through the home from the inside out.


Interior steel beams and a rust-stained staircase echo the weathered materials of the exterior.


The house is deceivingly open and bright – something you might not expect at first glance of the outside. The large steel volumes take on a light, airy feel inside, when combined with large expanses of glass and clean, simple finishes.


The bathroom is splashed in a bold black and white, with dramatic washbasins and a claw foot tub overlooking the outdoor terrace accessed through the black-framed glass doors.


Echoing the black and white palette, the master bedroom reminds us of a black-and-white photograph – simple, elegant, timeless.


Inside the inclined volumes, stairs lead up through these tunnels of light.


At the top of the stairs, sunny sleeping areas offer the ultimate in privacy and views, letting you literally wake up with the rising sun.
Here are some floor plans illustrating the interesting composition of this complex container house:
First floor plan:


Second floor plan:


Roof floor plan:






Sebastian Irarrazaval
via Arch Daily
photo credits: Sergio Pirrone, Sebastian Irarrazaval



2 thoughts on “Twelve shipping containers combined into a modern mountain house

  1. I love your home, it’s spectacular in idea, material, environment & of course design. If not an imposition, could you share how much it cost you to build, excluding the land costs & how much of a savings did you realize, if any, in comparison to normal construction?
    Thanks in advance,

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