Alternative uses for shipping containers

These days it’s all about green construction methods. Home builders and architects are seeking new ways to creatively recycle materials for the creation of new, unique and energy-efficient buildings. One of the most exciting and innovative approaches in green architecture of the last 10 years or so is the use of shipping containers.

Cargo containers or shipping containers are perfect for use as buildings as they are manufactured to be weatherproof and to last. With so much tonnage of cargo freight being moved across the seas each year, there are plenty of containers to reuse and recycle. They are strong and built to withstand open sea travel making them ideal for use as a building.

Easy to modify, the containers can be reshaped into a variety of different shapes for their architectural purposes. Fortunately, they already come in the shape of rooms, with their rectangular shapes.

One exciting project that has been completed using shipping containers is ‘The Shipyard’. It’s a shared art gallery and studio that has been created from 27 used shipping containers. Each artist has their own studio within a container, and there is an 11,000sq ft lot in the centre. Artists work on their metal, mechanical and kinetic art – creating pieces that are too large to be made in a smaller studio space. However, the shipping containers afford the artists the affordable and creative space that they need in order to create some of their most innovative outputs.

Another example of how shipping containers have been used to create an art-related building is the Nomadic Museum. Using 20-foot-long containers, the space is used as a gallery to show art pieces. It can be easily taken apart, transported, and built up again in other locations. It has already been used for exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Venice and Tokyo.

The flexibility of shipping containers makes them ideal for all manner of projects – from the city centre apartment block to a cabin in a forest. They can be used to create relatively small residences or combined in order to create larger, more complex multi-story homes. There are already shipping container housing projects in existence in Australia, England, Holland and the USA.