Are you ready to be different than everyone else? Are you wanting to build something out of a box? If you are saying yes to both questions, shipping containers may be a route for you! ISO containers are a great way to build a unique structure that can be within reach of the average person.

Shipping containers were designed for storing and transporting goods. However, there are so many different ways to upcycle steel containers into a wide variety of new structures.

So, what can you REALLY build with a shipping container? The short answer is really - anything! - even if shipping containers are commonly used by business and home owners. Containers provide a scalable building block to create extra storage, retail space, restaurants, homes and so much more. Here is a general list along with images of how containers have been and are continuing to be utilized:  

  • Storage and Sheds. Sure it is the most basic use, but containers are great at storing things.

  • Cabins, guesthouse, tiny homes and vacation/main houses. The hottest trend in the past few years in containers is container architecture.

  • Offices and building extensions. Containers can add in extra space for people too. Containers can fitted out with insulation, electricity and desks easily.

  • Fire training stations. Containers can be burned again and again! As long as you replace that wood floor with something that doesn’t burn. We have all sorts of ideas on how to change the space to keep your team on their toes.

  • Saunas, pools and pool houses. Who doesn’t want one of these?!

  • Food trucks, restaurants and bars. Containers make everything more fun!

  • Portable toilets. Ground-level entry that can be moved to wherever you need them. And everyone will be happy they’re not a port-a-potty.

  • Retail shops and malls. Downtown Container Park in Las Vegas is a perfect example of how to take a great, creative idea and make it a reality.

Food trucks take over Toronto

Food trucks take over Toronto

Las Vegas , here we come!

Las Vegas, here we come!

  • Bistros and coffee shops. Starbucks has been running with this idea for a few years, but there are so many more takes on getting caffeine to those in need.

  • Student housing facilities and schools. The most classic example of this is TempoHousing in Amsterdam.

  • Emergency hospitals/disaster shelters. Containers can be moved around quickly and easily, making them a choice for quick response. The real hold-up here has been finding the way to create government-approved solutions that can be made where they are needed and at the right price point.

  • Nurseries and indoor gardens. This is such a great, sustainable way for locally grown food just about anywhere. Check out how they do it in Antarctica, Las Vegas and just about anywhere you can set down a container.

To find the right container for you, just contact us directly at 877-374-5452. We’d be happy to help make your vision a reality!

In light of the natural disasters throughout the US and the start of hurricane season, people are thinking about storm shelters as well as emergency housing after natural disasters.  As various organizations plan out emergency housing, two options start to emerge – container emergency housing and modular emergency housing.  Both options have their pros and cons.  Recently, Global Possiblities, a non-profit “committed to educating the public about solutions to our ecological, economic and political crises” posted an article debating the merits of both options.   in the meantime, Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects, a Tokyo-based architectural firm, has created container emergency housing that can transition from temporary to permanent homes and is stackable.

Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects Ex-Container Project, 2 x 20' containers are easy to transport. Image © Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects

Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects Ex-Container Project, 2 x 20' containers are easy to transport. Image © Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects

In a nutshell, here are the arguments for each side:

Container Emergency Housing

Pros -  Quick to convert to housing as needed -  Cheap to store -  Easy to transport

Cons -  Fixed lengths and widths are less flexible -  Architectural style less mainstream

Modular Emergency Housing

Pros -  Generous room sizes -  More “human-scaled,” meaning more geared toward comfortable living in versus containers which are more transportation-geared. -  Architectural style more mainstream

Cons -  Difficult to transport -  More labor-intensive to build -  Expensive to store

So which is better?  It is hard to say.  What do you think?  What pros and cons are not considered here?

In the aftermath of the Earthquake in Haiti, relief organizations started bringing in much-needed supplies.  At that time, there were many organizations trying to figure out how to creating housing out of containers.  While containers are a flexible option perfect for such a project, making it a reality is not always as easy.  However, one group did create a hotel using containers – The Caribbean Lodge in Port-au-Prince.

Recently a friend of Super Cubes was doing relief work in Haiti and stayed at the Caribbean Lodge.  He is also a skilled photographer, so was so kind to bring back pictures of his stay.  The container hotel has single and double rooms which have twin beds or twin bunk-beds and a private bathroom.  Hotel amenities include internet access, a restaurant and swimming pool.

Check out these pictures of a container hotel come to life. Often we talk about the possibilities of container structures, but it is so fun to see one up and running.  As always, click on a picture to make it larger.

Caribbean Lodge in Port-au-Prince is made from containers

Caribbean Lodge in Port-au-Prince is made from containers

Caribbean Lodge

Caribbean Lodge

The hotel and parking lot

The hotel and parking lot

Carbbean Lodge single room

Carbbean Lodge single room

Caribbean Lodge pool area

Caribbean Lodge pool area

Close-up of a container-room

Close-up of a container-room