Refrigerated Shipping Container Home, San Francisco, California

About Leger Wanaselja Architecture

Design: Leger Wanaselja Architecture
Project: Boucher Grygier Shipping Container House
Containers: 3 refrigerated shipping containers
Bedrooms: 3
Area: 1350 sqft
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Year: 2007
Construction: Scott Bailey
Photographs: Leger Wanaselja Architecture

This refrigerated shipping container home incorporates three pre-insulated containers into the structure of this three bedroom, 1350 square foot house. Made to withstand tremendous loads and, with built-in refrigerated units, to keep low constant temperature, these refrigerated shipping containers make excellent architecture building blocks and they easily meet the existing building codes.

Description by architects

Re-purposing used refrigerated shipping containers is extremely resource efficient.  The containers act as a weatherproof exterior siding, insulation, and structural frame.  Minimal insulation needs to be added at the roof and floor.  Framing is only needed where bay windows and interior partition walls are added.  Waterproofing is only needed where windows and doors are added.   Aside from the containers, which make up most of the building, green materials include:

▪ blown in cellulose insulation at the roof
▪ 50% flyash concrete foundation
▪ “green seal” low-voc paint on the interior
▪ water-based urethane finish on the wood
▪ 100% wool carpet and bamboo flooring

The house was also designed to minimize energy use through passive solar design.  Deep eaves minimize summer solar gain, while allowing winter solar heating.  Well placed windows supply excellent daylighting and summer ventilation.  Additional energy and water saving features such as stacked plumbing, roof rainwater collection, high efficacy lighting, and Solatubes further reduce ecological impacts.

Shipping Container House Built into Hill, Wellington, New Zealand


Design: Ross Stevens
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Photographs: Petra Alsbach-Stevens

This prefab modular shipping container home built into hill, is an excellent example of industrial design in residential housing. Re-use of sea containers make the price of this three story home very attractive. The containers are quite durable, allow designers to widely combine the arrangement of premises and provide great opportunities for architects of modular houses.

2000 sq ft Modular Shipping Container Home, East Hampton, New York

Floor plans
About SG Blocks

Project: Beach Box
Design: Andrew Anderson and SG Blocks
Containers: 6
Area: 2000 square feet
Exterior deck area: 1300 square feet
Location: Amagansett Dunes, East Hampton, New York

This modular container home is located about 600 feet from the ocean and is consist of six modules made of shipping containers. In the four containers on the ground level there are four bedrooms, in the two containers on top there are dining room, living room and open kitchen. The home's features are white oak floors, cypress decking and siding, white thermoplastic roof, spray foam insulation, energy-efficient windows and Energy Star appliances.

Earthquake-Resistant Modular Shipping Container Home

Floor plans
About ARQtainer

Project: Casa Liray
Design: ARQtainer
Containers: 3x20 ft and 2x40 ft
Area: 115 m²
Project cost: $75,000 USD
Building time: 3 month
Location: Colina, Chile
Year: 2010

This earthquake-resistant modular shipping container home was made with three 20-foot and two 40-foot shipping containers. The customers wanted an earthquake-proof home at an affordable price, and architects were able to deliver a home design to suit client's needs using the shipping container as the structure. The earthquake-resistant modular shipping container home was built for about $75,000 USD in three months.

Three 20-foot containers have the kitchen and living room, while two 40-foot containers have the bathrooms and bedrooms. Original shipping container flooring was replaced with quality hardwood flooring. The builder insulated the ceiling and walls with spray-applied cellulose to avoid acoustic and thermal bridges, installed energy-efficient windows and then finished the interior.

Description from architects.

The project is created by the need of the client to build a house quickly, earthquake resistant and low cost, programmatically all set in 115 m². Maritime containers are chosen because these inherently present all these characteristics, because they have a strong structure, already defined modular spaces and mainly constructive speed due to the fact that a large part of their execution was developed in a workshop, being transferred with a good percentage of advance to the site, reducing auditory pollution and the impact generated by a construction site.

The work was located on a plot of 6775 m² and at its eastern end to maintain distance from the road and to obtain views towards the Andes mountain range, rising 55 cm above the ground level to give it more height and separate it from the soil. The lower space is used for installations.

Volumetrically it is defined by 5 shipping containers: two 40-foot containers that spatially house the private areas (bedrooms), plus three of 20 feet that contain the public spaces (living, dining room, kitchen) and the service, the articulation of these areas is made up of two spaces defined by attached structures, an access hall and a service patio, giving space and volumetric continuity to the house.

In order to respect the required square meters, the fa├žade is set back in the bedroom area, adjusting it towards the corridor.

Taking advantage of the strong structure offered by the containers, a terrace was installed on the living and dining area to take advantage of the distant views and at the ends of the first level the pre-existing doors were used to structure the balconies.

Regarding the subject of insulation, walls and ceiling were isolated with cellulose wool, which has good thermal and acoustic characteristics of high efficiency. Thermopanels and cross vents also added to control heat in summer.

Shipping Container Cabins, Homes and Buildings by HyBrid Architecture

Shipping Container Art Studio, Long Island, New York

About MB Architecture

Design: Maziar Behrooz
Area: 840 sq ft
Year: 2010
Location: Amagansett, Long Island, New York

The client needed a small art studio close to her residence. Her requirements were a stringent budget of $60,000 for a simple building that would be both reflective and inviting, located on an area of about 700 sf. Architect's solution was to use two 40ft shipping containers perched over a foundation cellar/wall. By cutting most part of the floor of the containers, architects were able to take an advantage of a high ceiling and to move the art studio to a lower level. The staircase itself can act as a transitional space for viewing art work. The upper floor provides a sitting area and a more intimate work area. The container units were painted dark charcoal to help to maintain continuity with the main original house and to recede in the shadows of a dense wooded site.

Description by architects.

An art studio made of recycled shipping containers on the East End of Long Island, in Amagansett, New York. It includes 900 sf of space and a double height ceiling. Winner of an AIA Peconic Award and featured in numerous publications and design blogs.

The client needed an art studio close to her house (which we renovated in 2008). Her requirements called for a space of about 900 sf , a tight budget and for a simple structure that would be both inviting and reflective.

Our solution was to use two 9’-6” x 40’ x 8’ shipping containers (cost: $2,500 each, delivered) perched over a 9’ foundation wall/cellar. By cutting 75% of the floor of the containers, we were able to move the painting studio to a lower level via a wide staircase and take advantage of a high ceiling. The staircase itself acts as a transitional space for viewing art work.

The upper floor provides a more intimate work area and a sitting area.

The containers were painted dark charcoal to maintain continuity with the original house and to recede in the shadows of a dense wooded site.

The total area of the studio is 840 sf.

Shipping Container House with Green Roof, San Antonio, Texas

Floor plan
About Poteet Architects

Design: Poteet Architects
Year: 2010
Location: San Antonio, Texas, USA
Photography: Chris Cooper

This Poteet Architects’s project is a successful implementation of client’s wish to experiment with shipping containers. The shipping container house with green roof serves as a small guest house and is fitted with a custom stainless sink and a WC/shower. Large sliding window opens the interior space to the surrounding natural landscape.

The design emphasis is on the sustainable strategies: recycling of shipping container for a permanent use; the green roof provides shade and natural insulation to reduce heat gain. Grey water is collected from the shower and sink, and is used for green roof irrigation. The WC is a composting toilet. Interior space insulated with high efficient spray foam and lined with natural bamboo plywood suitable for walls and floor.

40,000 USD Shipping Container Home

Drawings/floor plans
About Benjamin Garcia Saxe

Design: Benjamin Garcia Saxe
Containers: 2
Area: Aprox 100 sqm
Year: 2011
Client: Peralta Family
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica

A young couple dreamed of living in their own home 20 minutes outside of the city, where they could enjoy the natural landscape with their horses. They made the bold choice of exploring with architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe the possibility of creating an inexpensive shipping container home that allowed them to live the life they always dreamed of and be dept free. One of the important goals for architect was to provide customers with the spectacular views, the sunset, the sunrise, and overall create a feeling of home and comfort.

Description by architects

This house made of two shipping containers allowed the Peralta family to fulfill their dream of living outside of San Jose, enjoying the natural landscape and being close to their horses.

The Containers of Hope project was an experiment for both client and architect but it paid off and has become an internationally-renowned example of the creative beautiful design using shipping containers.

The containers are staggered and offer dual aspect views, meaning that the owners can enjoy the sun rise and sunset.

A roof between the two sections of the home is made from the scrap pieces of metal taken to make the windows; this not only creates an internal sensation of openness but also provides a cross ventilation which negatesthe need for air conditioning. The adventurous spirit of this project means that the owners are able to live debt-free in a beautiful landscape.

The final cost of the house (40,000USD) is lower than the cost of social housing provided for the poor in Costa Rica.

Perhaps this project begins to expose the importance of design as a tool to provide beauty and comfort with a very low budget in the 21st century, whilst using creativity to not only redefine a scrap material such a disused shipping container, but perhaps to even show that there are viable, low cost, passive alternatives of temperature control to adapt to a very intense tropical climate.

Already this proposal has began to spark a great deal of interest and could become one alternative to solve the issue of disposing of disregarded shipping containers in developing countries, as well as begin to solve the large gap which first time buyers encounter when purchasing a home.