Container News

Shipping Container Architecture has gained a lot of ground over the past few years for its simplicity, affordability and flexibility.  Yes the very same containers that make transatlantic voyages and are carted around hitched to trucks have become a tool for architects to design restaurants, to serve as retail or pavilions and even homes.  According to an article in the New York Observer, NYC plans to prepare for the next disaster with apartments built out of shipping containers to be used as disaster relief shelters.

The modular and utilitarian form of the shipping container has a remarkable amount of flexibility.  They can outfitted to provide comfortable shelters, either permanent or temporary, and can easily be taken apart or stacked together to build complex structures.  For many, the reality of long term disaster housing can’t come soon enough. The New York Times reported that an estimated 400 homes need to be demolished with 500 still awaiting evaluation. Chaban also reports that approximately 20,000 people are estimated to become homeless in NYC alone as a result of natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy.

The idea is to be able to deploy these shelters in parking lots of playgrounds and stack them to create apartment blocks, even communities by incorporating retail and community spaces. The prototype is a 480 square foot one bedroom apartment that includes all the amenities that people may be missing or have lost in a disaster. A living room, kitchen and bathroom all fit within the quaint space and are provided with adequate light and ventilation, independent septic systems and the option of dependent or independent power generation.

The balance of cost and comfort are also mediated by the need to make this housing option a temporary convenience but not a permanent solution. Though NYC is pushing this concept, the hope is that FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers get on board to help cover the costs and make this amenity deployable through the country.

A 160-unit prototype is in the works to test the structural and community aspects of the project. NYC’s Office of Emergency Management has been planning this since before Sandy and hopes to have the prototype ready by late 2013. The value of this program, is that it strives to rebuild community as it provides emergency relief. It keeps people in their communities among their neighbors and inspires the rebuilding process to begin. For additional information please contact our Sales Staff at 602-723-9608 option 1 and ask about all the modifications we can offer.




The city of Long Beach, California recently asked two design firms WE-designs and XP& Architecture to design a landmark project to revitalize its downtown area using a low budget. The initial ideas are represented here as a series of re-configured old shipping containers, truncated and placed upright.  The futuristic cluster of low rise buildings, called (RE) Configured-Ecologies, may eventually become multi-use space with an open playground feel.  It will comprise of an education center, a café, retail space and 13 work/live loft spaces as well as an open roof terrace.  Through proposing three types of innovatively reconstructed modular shipping containers, the overall construct leads to open courtyards, interlocking units, and playfully generated programs that introduce a new innovative topological creation that regenerates and reconnects the community.

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Fashion, design and architecture collide in Zaha Hadid’s recent completed design plaza, one South Korea’s most popular tourist destinations. Commissioned by the Design Plaza's Supervisor of the latest development for the plaza is a series of compact kiosks designed to activate the expansive public space surrounding the new building. One of ten teams invited to submit ideas for these new kiosks,  Amsterdam-based NL Architects developed a series of impermanent but practical solutions for the plaza. Using new methods for reuse of standard shipping containers, the team proposed a host of kiosks, with two of their designs - an information booth and a miniature exhibition space - being accepted for construction.

"In the presence of Zaha all matter seems to become fluid...even the most rigid of forms turns malleable, pliable, soft," reads the project description. Inspired by Hadid’s surrounding curvilinear structure, the team chose to challenge the standard rectilinear use of shipping containers, inventing a series of multi-functional kiosks that accommodate uses through gently curved, twisted, bent and inflated distortions to their rectangular structure.

The "family of booths" all utilize a flowing aesthetic echoing Hadid's centre, providing a sense of harmony in the public square. Each kiosk will serve a unique purpose intended to active the public space at Dongdaemun Plaza, and will provide much-needed space for local vendors and restaurants to operate. Interior spaces will be adaptable to a variety of specific uses, particularly in the exhibition kiosk which will feature eight ground-level doors that can be configured depending on spatial requirements. An exterior bench is carved into the roofline of the information kiosk, further activating the public square and serving as an example for design of the yet-unfinished kiosks. 


Ultimately, the project aims to realize 30 kiosks across the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Young Joon Kim has invited 10 architecture firms to design 3 kiosks each within a specific program: commercial activities, exhibitions, exchange of information, surveillance, and interaction. Each kiosk will feature a transparent roof and multiple doors for optimal flexibility, along with exterior space for public interaction.

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A Spanish architecture firm has proposed a solution to overcrowding in Mumbai's Dharavi slums, one of the largest and most crowded  ghettos in the world.  

The building materials may be familiar;  we've seen shipping house containers before, so the natural progression would be a whole skyscraper of the boxes.

The 'Contain-scraper' is two shipping container towers designed by Spanish architecture firm CRG. They say "The irregular shape of the site gives us total freedom to design."If built, one structure would tower 400 meters over Mumbai and the adjacent tower would be 200 meters high.

Together they would comprise 2,500 recycled shipping containers and provide affordable accommodation for more than 1500 families. project was by far the tallest proposal at the SuperSkyScrapers competition for container skyscrapers in Mumbai where it took third prize. 

The brief of the competition was to create affordable housing solutions from shipping containers for Dharavi, an area with a lack of infrastructure and adequate sanitation. The twisting shape of the towers is functional as well as aesthetic, as it distributes the weight of the containers evenly.The shape also allows wind to flow through and cool down the structures and by pivoting the containers the windows face away from prying neighbors. A single unit could be subdivided to provide a studio flat, while up to three containers could be joined for a three-bedroom family residence.

For additional information please contact our Sales Staff at 602-723-9608 option 1 and ask about all the modifications we can offer.




With the green premise growing in popularity across the globe, more and more people are turning to cargo container structures for green alternatives. There are countless numbers of empty, unused shipping containers around the world just sitting on shipping docks taking up space. The reason for this is that it’s too expensive for a country to ship empty containers back to their origin. In most cases, it’s just cheaper to buy new containers from Asia. The result is an extremely high surplus of empty shipping containers that are just waiting to become a home, office, apartment, school, dormitory, studio, emergency shelter, and everything else. 

There are copious benefits to the so-called shipping container architecture model. A few of these advantages include: strength, durability, availability, and cost. The abundance and relative cheapness (some sell for as little as $900) of these containers during the last decade comes from the deficit in manufactured goods coming from North America. These manufactured goods come to North America, from Asia and Europe, in containers that often have to be shipped back empty at a considerable expense. Therefore, new applications are sought for the used containers that have reached their final destination.

Shipping container architecture gets a lot of encouraging coverage in the design world as a trendy green alternative to traditional building materials, and seems like a smart choice for people looking for eco-consciousness. However, there are a lot of downsides to building with cargo containers. For instance, the coatings used to make the containers durable for ocean transport also happen to contain a number of harmful chemicals, such as chromate, phosphorous, and lead-based paints. Moreover, wood floors that line the majority of shipping container buildings are infused with hazardous chemical pesticides like arsenic and chromium to keep pests away.

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Since storage boxes come in standard sizes, they are compatible with preexisting channels of transportation, meaning that no out of the ordinary arrangements need to be made for their transportation. Therefore, Conex container homes can be quickly and efficiently shipped to wherever they are needed most. 

Easy Set-Up of Container Homes

Once the boxes are delivered, all that's needed for set-up is level ground that extends to match or exceed the size of the box. Again, this means that displaced persons will receive relief housing as soon as possible, with no inefficiency in transportation or construction. Building is one of the most lengthy processes when setting up traditional disaster housing, and Conex boxes circumvent that delay. 

Safety in Conex Box Houses 

Temporary housing should provide protection from the elements and keep its inhabitants secure. This is especially true in cases where displacement has already occurred. Conex boxes are certified wind and water resistant, and can be set up with HVAC systems in areas with extreme heat or cold. In addition, Conex container homes are very secure, meaning that the inhabitants and their possessions will be protected from potential security breaches. 

Durability in Container Housing

Relief housing is by definition temporary, which means that it must either be torn down or stored when the need is gone. Conex container homes are designed to be stored easily and efficiently, with no space wasted, so that they will be available for use in future disasters. 

Space-Saving Solutions

Conex box houses can be modified for the needs that different families and different climates will face. For example, they come in standard sizes ranging from 20 to 40 feet in length, meaning that large and small families can both be accommodated without wasting space. In addition, boxes can be stacked or joined when necessary to add even more space.

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A Shipping Container is a container having the capability to withstand shipment, storage, and handling. Shipping containers range from huge reusable steel boxes used for intermodal consignments to the universal crimped boxes. It is important to secure the shipping containers from various threats such as vandalism and theft. Here some simple ways by which you can ensure security for your shipping containers and the belongings they carry.

1. Shipping Container Lock Boxes

Unlike padlocks, lock boxes are steel boxes that cannot be tampered with. It is almost impossible to break through these locks. These locks are big enough and cannot be fit into padlock and key. The design of the lock boxes keeps your padlocks out of view and inaccessible to lock cutters. These are an inexpensive, easy-to-install way to secure your storage containers.

2. Heavy Duty Padlocks

It is the simplest way of securing storage containers for your things being stored. Different styles of padlocks are available in the market. The most suitable style can be said as the “shutter” type padlocks. These provide security at a basic level and can be tampered easily.

3. Alarm System

This type of security has always proved as the best. Traditional alarm systems could be used if your container lies near a building or a phone line because they need an electrical connection or on-site landline. Another option can be the GSM container alarm that offers you 24-hour remote monitoring and wireless installation capabilities through the mobile phone network.

4. Crossbar Locks

These are portable and are easily installable within seconds without welding. The crossbar locks prevent the primary doors’ handle from turning. They are designed so smartly that even if someone succeeds in cutting the padlock, they cannot get access to the container.

For additional information please contact our Sales Staff at 602-723-9608 option 1 and ask about all the modifications we can offer.

Depending on where you build, and how/if your containers are combined, you may not even need a roof.  If you do need a roof, or just want one for appearance sake, it’s really not that hard to build one.  A simple low pitched (3:12 or 4:12) shed roof, if you like that look, is probably the easiest and cheapest to build.  Be sure to keep in mind how you are going to insulate the roof, and whether of not you will need access under the roof to do it.

This  roof was a variation of the typical pole shed found around here with rafters and purlins covered with galvanized metal roofing.  A simple roof like this can be completed in just a couple of days with three moderately skilled craftsmen. 

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No matter what most people say, storing items in a standard shipping container, that is exposed to the elements, does not necessarily mean that your items will be safe from moisture issues. You are still susceptible to dangers from condensation inside the container itself, which will collect on the ceiling and walls, trickling down due to differences in temperature, endangering the items you placed inside. This humidity can appear due to a number of reasons, mostly being trapped under the plywood container floor or due to already being present inside, being present in the items being stored and so forth. Humidity in the atmosphere will also play a part in the process, but there are ways you can get around it.

When temperatures cool off during the evening, water droplets will often form inside containers due to condensation, most often on the ceilings due to the difference between the outside and inside temp.  If you don’t do anything about it your storage area will likely develop quite a bit of a moisture problem.

Dampstick Condensation Control Poles

You can make use of this to remove the dampness from the air before it condensates. (above)


Another material you can use that can be applied by spraying it onto the container ceiling itself.  (above)

Foil encased bubble wrap

This is a cheap, effective and easy way of insulation, as it will be applied to the ceiling and walls of the container.  (above)

Insulated panels

This will allow you to line the entire container with some 25mm or 50mm wall to ceiling and the entire ceilings insulation panels made of Polyisocyanurate.  (above)

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A few years back an interesting shipping container project that was being built around Bluff City Tennessee.Sorry that we don’t have more details about the builder, or the purpose of this container structure but in the meantime, we thought a few photos would be enough to spark interest in this type of shipping container barn design. 

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