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

We deliver beautiful, integrated, living environments that inspire change and enhance the human condition.

The 2011 National Architecture Firm Award Winner, BNIM is an innovative leader in designing high performance environments. Through an integrated process of collaborative discovery, we create transformative, living design that leads to vital and healthy organizations and communities.

Core Values

  • We seek a better way. We are committed to long term thinking and measurable improvement as a way of life.
  • We seek to increase the vitality of people, planet and prosperity equally.
  • We are passionate about generous design, it inspires people and changes the world.
  • We insist on being excellent – in execution, performance and results.
  • We care about what our buildings do and how they positively impact lives.
  • We operate with a spirit of authenticity and servant leadership.
  • We embrace diversity in our culture – in perspective, voice and skills.
  • We promote integrated thinking and a collaborative dialogue of discovery.
  • We embrace the challenge of innovation and the advantage of replication.


  • Architecture
  • Existing Buildings
  • Interiors
  • Sustainable Consulting
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Workplace Planning
  • Planning
  • Graphics
  • Research

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:

  • Beauty/Inspiration
  • Comfort/Wellness
  • Connectivity/Collaboration
  • Achievement/Performance
  • Agility/Resilience

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 (Kansas City, Missouri)

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.

What are we selling?

Over time, we have learned that some customers would like to design and build their own shipping container homes. In response to these customers, we have created a new offering that makes it easy to get started. Contact us for our selection of a la cart materials, shipping containers with openings, windows, and doors, kitchens, and flooring…we have what you’ll need to build in sustainable style.

What are you buying?

Simple plans for our shipping container homes: Our plans give you and your city a clear understanding of the design details to review for code requirements in your area. Once you get approval, you have the option to build our shipping container home using local construction help, or with our team. If you need them stamped by our structural engineer, we also have a permitted set of shipping container home plans (for an additional fee) using different shipping container home shapes structurally designed to travel, stack, and build. Our designs are built BRAND NEW.

  • Structurally engineered containers
  • Custom windows and doors to fit perfectly in the openings
  • Build Kits for our Accessory Dwelling Unit (list of goods supplied inside) (GE contact)
  • Finished Accessory Dwelling unit for Humboldt County (link to Humboldt Homes)
  • Custom Design

Are our manufactured homes cheaper to build that stick-built?

Our homes are built with custom steel fabricated modules, using low VOC paints and sustainable materials. They are not cheaper to build than other homes, but in the long run, you will not need to spend money repainting your home or replacing the roof or windows. All the materials have been carefully chosen to last.

How can I build my own manufactured steel home?

We have plans and kits available of our homes. You can first buy our simple plans to get the permitting done, then purchase your kit. It will arrive in four to six months.

Why Home Contained?

Design is of paramount importance to us. The space we occupy every day must be compatible with who we are and how we like to live. We design our spaces to be functional, beautiful, efficient, comfortable, and sustainable. We look for the finest materials and manufacturers and offer our products at a fair price. We also know that it is important to customize for your own taste and we will happily work with you to make it special for you!

Why buy our plans?

We sell easy-to-use plans that can be taken to your local jurisdiction and reviewed for permitting. Many cities and states have not yet permitted shipping container homes, so having a full set of shipping container home plans for their review is the first step to building your shipping container home. Each state has different requirements, so after your initial review, you may need some additional work from our team, or parts for your build. For additional fees, we can help with most of your needs!

Are Home Contained designs best suited for you?

Our Single Home—HomeFree—is a great addition to any backyard with room to spare. It can be used for a member of the family who wants to be on their own, like a college student, caretaker, or grandparents. It can also be rented out to earn extra income.

If you are building a new home and want to live on the property while the main house is being built, our HomeFREE unit could be installed first and then become a great additional space for your newly built home—A guest room? Art studio? Private office? Our homes can work for all, customized for your needs.

Do we do custom design?

Home Contained partners with BNIM Architects to work on a variety of designs that use ten or more shipping containers. Design fees are typically $85 an hour and we can prepare the documentation needed for the permit process in your area. Home Contained makes the containers, windows, kitchens, and bathrooms parts for your projects. We can connect you with a local general contractor or you can build it yourself.

How do we source our materials?

Our goal is, always, to bring in the best design and quality, at a fair price. Our experience sourcing and manufacturing internationally is extensive and most of our overseas partners are smaller cottage industry operations, owned and operated by families. Additionally, we work with some of the largest, most respected companies that have worked in the industry for decades. Innovation in design and manufacturing are essential to our projects. Our goal is to work with as many local manufacturers as possible, bringing manufacturing jobs back to the USA.

What components come with our Kit homes?

Our Kit Home comes with the following components:

  • Double-glazed aluminum windows and doors
  • Bathroom with toilet and Solid Surface washbasin and shower tray
  • Interior and exterior LED lighting
  • Tile floors in bathrooms, assorted several styles
  • Bamboo flooring, 3 styles
  • Kitchen-3 finishes
  • Energy-Efficient Appliances options

Additional fee-based options can include:

  • Outdoor Decking
  • Delivery of the modules
  • Permit Drawings
  • Indoor Sprinkler system
  • Solar system
  • Crane rental
  • Contractors to Build from Kit on site (It’s the buyer’s responsibility to take care of all site work, including plumbing, sewer, electricity and clearing)

Why do we offer Kits?

We offer our kits for DIYer’s and Builders that want to save on the build cost and do customizations. Having the option to buy the pieces and parts to our units give you or your team the flexibility to be creative and use materials you prefer.

Address5937 Charlotte, Kansas City, Missouri 64110

More shipping container homes in Missouri:

$150,000 Shipping Container House, Springfield, Missouri

Net-Zero Prefab Container Home by Missouri S&T

2000 sq ft Shipping Container House, Kansas City, Missouri