2000 sq ft Shipping Container House, Kansas City, Missouri

About BNIM
About Home Contained

ProjectGlassberg Container House
Design and buildBNIM and Home Contained (Debbie Glassberg)
Area2000 sq ft
LocationKansas City, Missouri

While homes made of containers is not a new idea, this ocean shipping container house design is unique in how it combine spaces and areas that nurture the inhabitants. Delightful to be in and easy to maintain, these spaces are inspiring and generous. The designer created three kinds of spaces: Container Space offers unique livable areas, Contained Space – the area created between two or more containers and Uncontained Space – which is the area beyond the building, integrally connected to an overall structure.

Description from builders

BNIM collaborated with Debbie Glassberg to design her new residence constructed from five shipping containers in the Brookside neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri. The containers, pieced together with a steel and concrete framework, create space for two bedrooms, an office, television room, kitchen, dining area, living room and three bathrooms. The pre-fabricated containers are taller than typical shipping containers, allowing for large windows that create an open and light-filled space. The roof of the two-story residence includes an edible garden and patio.



Address: 5937 Charlotte St, Kansas City, MO 64110, USA

About BNIM

BNIM's instrumental development of the USGBC, LEED and the Living Building concept, combined with projects, methods and research, shaped the direction of the sustainable movement. Through this involvement, the firm has redefined design excellence to elevate human experience together with aesthetics and building performance. In practice, this multifaceted design excellence has yielded national acclaim, including the AIA National Architecture Firm Award, and consistent design recognition nationally and internationally.

BNIM is Building Positive. This notion describes how BNIM leverages its collective capacity for design thinking to solve local and global issues in a way that is focused on building the positive attributes of community and the built environment. As a multidisciplinary firm that is building positive, our disciplines collaborate significantly on meaningful work that is carefully conceived for multiple returns and measurable results.

Human Purposed Integrated Design
Our approach to meeting design challenges is a resolute commitment to Human Purposed Integrated Design, or HP.ID.

HP | Human Purposed is a deep commitment to humanity as the origin of inspiration, innovation, and prosperity.
ID | Integrated Design is the delivery of insights enabled by clear communication among a diverse team of active collaborators with refined expertise.

Our HP.ID process stresses the human component of design because in a world of algorithmic music selection and suggestive online selling, humans have insights, instincts, and vitality that must be valued above all. Human Purposed Integrated Design supports invaluable human insight by focusing on specific needs that can be met and enhanced through inspired design:


We seek disruptive innovations that are comprehensive and exceed performance requirements across multiple measures.

Key Contacts

Maria Maffrymmaffry@bnim.com+1 816 783 1625
Steve McDowell FAIA LEED AP BD+Csmcdowell@bnim.com+1 816 783 1553
Rod Kruse FAIA LEED APrkruse@bnim.com+1 515 559 0435
Kevin Nordmeyer AIA LEED AP BD+Cknordmeyer@bnim.com+1 515 559 0432
James Pfeiffer AIA LEED AP BD+Cjpfeiffer@bnim.com+1 816 783 1577
Hans Nettelblad AIA LEED AP BD+Chnettelblad@bnim.com+1 816 783 1605
Laura Lesniewski AIA LEED APllesniewski@bnim.com+1 816 783 1594
Craig Scranton AIA LEED AP BD+Ccscranton@bnim.com+1 816 783 1619
Gretchen Holy IIDAgholy@bnim.com+1 816 783 1609
Beena Ramaswamibramaswami@bnim.com+1 816 783 1527
Ruthie Harrisonrharrison@bnim.com+1 816 783 1560
Danielle Buttacavoli AICP AIAdbuttacavoli@bnim.com+1 619 321 3870



Kansas City

Address2460 Pershing Road, Suite 100, Kansas City, MO 64108
Phone+1 816 783 1500
Fax+1 816 783 1501

Des Moines

Address317 6th Avenue Suite 100, Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Phone+1 515 974 6462
Fax+1 816 783 1501

San Diego

Address797 J St, San Diego, CA 92101, United States
Phone+1 619 795 9920
Fax+1 816 783 1501

About Home Contained

Spaces to live, work and stay.

The concept of Home Contained was born when Debbie Glassberg attended the Canton Fair five years ago in Guangzhou, China. Debbie’s father, who owns a factory in China, noted that containers being manufactured down the road from his facility looked like pieces and parts that could be used to build durable homes. At the Fair, Debbie became excited about the idea of using containers for homes. In addition, Debbie was intrigued with the breadth of beautiful residential products that were being designed and produced in China, though not available in the U.S, including a number of green, indicating the country’s growing interest in sustainable design. She explored both interests in the design of her own residence in Kansas City, using five containers and many striking interior products in interesting ways. This experience led her to expand the idea of Home Contained to a myriad of applications.
While “container homes” are not necessarily a new idea, Home Contained products are unique in how they combine spaces that nurture the inhabitants. Easy to maintain, and delightful to be in, these spaces are generous and inspiring. Home Contained is about creating three kinds of spaces:
 Container Space – offering unique livable spaces in and of themselves;
 Contained Space – the space created between more than one container, allowing flexibility in an overall plan; and
 Uncontained Space – which is the space beyond the structure, integrally connected to an overall nurturing environment
Home Contained provides endless possibilities for spaces to live, work and stay.
Schools, hotels, businesses and residences — both permanent and temporary — can be customized from Home Contained solutions.

The Home Contained Team

Debbie Glassberg is a toy designer and raw food enthusiast with an impressive list of credentials and a mind for all things creative. When first setting out to design and build her own home, after relocating to Kansas City from California in 2006, she engaged the architecture firm of BNIM. With their impressive collection of knowledge around sustainable building techniques and a willingness to tackle anything, BNIM became an important part of the Home Contained team. Along with Debbie, Steve McDowell, Laura Lesniewski, and Josh Hemberger are hard at work on perfecting the configurations that make Home Contained a site-ready solution for projects of all kinds … bringing simple, bold and beautiful solutions to a site near you.

Address5937 Charlotte, Kansas City, Missouri 64110

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2000 sq ft Shipping Container House, Kansas City, Missouri