Shipping Container Backyard Office, BC, Canada

Floor plan, Elevations, Section
About Randy Bens Architect
About Ennova Structural Engineers
About KBC Developments

ProjectRB Studio
ArchitectRandy Bens Architect
Structural EngineeringEnnova Structural Engineers
BuilderKBC Developments
Project ParticipantsJohn Buttery, Intern Architect AIBC, Container West, Stickle Cabinets
ManufacturersStructurlam, Herman Miller, Flor, Studio Italia design
Area350 SF
LocationNew Westminster, BC, Canada
PhotographyEma Peter

Description by architects

Completed in the winter of 2016, this modified shipping container is our new office. The practice was formed in 2005 to focus on small, well-crafted buildings. After working in my home office with one staff member for many years, we decided to expand the practice (a little).

Lifestyle is important to me and my wife, so the decision was made to expand to the back yard rather than to a remote commercial space. The goal was to have the benefits of working from home, while having an independent space for staff, a place to conduct meetings with clients and contractors, and to simply have more room to do our work. The self sufficient shipping container backyard office contains a kitchenette, washroom, printer / network cabinet and an open studio space. The small meeting space can be configured in a number of ways, and the table can join the desk for model making.

We looked at several construction options and settled on an over-sized corten steel shipping container. These containers were designed for mining operations and are 40’ long, 11.5’ wide, and 9.5’ high. The inherent durability of the steel shell, and the ability to for us to take the structure with us when / if we relocate were two of the biggest benefits.

The 350 sq.ft. shipping container backyard office cantilevers over its new foundation, and pulls all the services from the old 1930’s house that shares the property. Water, sanitary, power, and data were trenched from the house to the base of the building. The container was fitted out in the supplier’s factory, and arrived on site 95% complete,

The yellow cedar cladding was a city requirement (all shipping containers must be clad). The window and door are also yellow cedar, and they’ll be left to weather to a grey patina. The steel stair has already taken on a full layer of rust after one winter. The interior is lined in birch plywood to impart warmth, and the Douglas Fir desk clear spans 19’ giving us a very flexible working space.

The reaction to the project has been universal in the neighbourhood and from visitors - everyone loves it. There is something about small buildings that most people find appealing. It has turned out to be a pleasant place to work.

Floor plan, Elevations, Sections

About Randy Bens Architect

Randy Bens, Architect AIBC apprenticed with two of the finer architectural practices in North America - Arthur Erickson / Nick Milkovich Architects, and Busby & Associates Architects. While working for these firms, he graduated with Distinction from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and completed his registration as an Architect.

He is a Member of the Architectural Institute of BC (Architect AIBC), and holds a Certificate of Practice. After working on large, multi million dollar projects for other firms, randy bens architect was formed in April 2005 to focus on custom single family housing and select commercial projects.

The practice has been kept intentionally small, so we can provide a high level of service while focusing on a few quality projects each year.


Each project is different because each client is different.

This is not an oversimplification.

The process begins by carefully considering all the factors that influence the project, not by selecting a style. The design unfolds as the relationship between site, program, budget, and client evolves.

Our goal is to deliver beautiful spaces that are tailored to the needs of our clients, that perhaps challenge the norm, and enhance the lives of those who inhabit them.

Address1833 Edinburgh St, New Westminster, BC V3M 2X2, Canada
Phone+1 604-540-5102

About Ennova Structural Engineers

Ennova Structural Engineers Inc is located in Vancouver, BC, Canada and is part of the Engineering Services Industry. Ennova Structural Engineers Inc has 4 total employees across all of its locations and generates $724,452 in sales (USD).

Key Principal Tim Lam


  • Engineering Services
  • Professional Services Sector
  • Consulting engineer

Address1820 Renfrew St Suite 200, Vancouver, BC, V5M 3H9 Canada
Phone+1 604-255-7670

About KBC Developments

KBC, established in 1959, consults + manages all phases of residential design + construction. It is our belief that a high level of involvement is essential to ensure a consistent vision + seamless execution of design details. Working with our preferred contractors + suppliers, consideration is given to design sensibility, livability, and quality construction in order to contribute to a lasting investment.

Our approach is straightforward + practical – relying on close collaboration with our clients, architects + designers, consultants + engineers. Utilizing ongoing education + training, we proactively remain informed of beneficial changes in building codes, environmental concerns + initiatives - implementing new technologies + approaches that exceed the requirements - in order to build energy efficient, healthier + more comfortable homes.

Most of all, we find ourselves inspired by people + projects that creatively find innovative solutions to the way we live and build.

Our work focuses on highly custom homes of varied size + scale, along with upgrades to existing homes.

Based in Vancouver, and operated by brothers Harv Kliewer + Ron Kliewer.

AddressKliewer Bros. Construction Ltd., PO Box 42043 Vancouver, BC, V5S 4R5 Canada
Phone 1+1 604 760 3949
Phone 2+1 604 764 7606

Shipping Container Backyard Office, BC, Canada