Top 20 Shipping Container Home Designs and their Costs 2019

There is a hot new trend: shipping container homes. Basically, you modify and re-purpose used shipping containers and stick them together to build a house!

House made of 8 containers

Architects, designers and builders have actually found a way to transform big boxes of steel into beautiful and fully-functional homes.

With proper planning, you can endeavor to design and build a luxurious house for half the price of a “normal” house.  Let’s talk a bit about the costs of building a shipping container house.

The base cost to build per container:

There are two standard sizes for shipping containers: 20 x 8 x 8 ft. covering a surface of 160 sq. ft. and 40 x 8 x 8 with a surface of 320 sq. ft. A used 20-footer costs anywhere between $1,400 and $2,800, whereas a 40-footer costs $3,500 – $4,500.

You will also have to pay for labor (about $50-$150 per hour) and for the modifications needed to make the container livable. Expect to pay at least $10,000 for labor, more likely $15,000 per container.

There are some prefabricated shipping container houses sold for as little as $15,000. A big and luxurious house made of shipping containers can cost significantly more than $250,000, but it’s still only half the price for a high-end home of a similar size.

Green Home

Green shipping containers

Via Digital Trends

With a surface of 2,000 sq. ft., this house combines the industrial design on the outside with a walnut finish on the inside. The floors are made of concrete and the dual-pane aluminum windows provide natural light all year round.

The house has 5 separate decks to enjoy the sun while eating outside, tanning or simply standing still to enjoy the view. You would probably have to pay about $150,000-$200,000 (estimated) for a metal container house this big.

Compared to the $300K required to build a normal house with the same dimensions, we think metal containers sound quite attractive at this point, especially if the value of unique design and sustainability are taken into account. 

Container Guesthouse

Container guesthouse

Via Digital Trends

The costs to build this 1,000 sq. ft. house rise up to $75,000 – $150,000 (estimated). They used 2 x 40 ft. containers and added large windows to make the house look very spacious. This will help get your mind off the fact that it’s made of metal containers.

Although you can’t tell from this picture, the house is located near a city of two million people, San Jose, Costa Rica. This is a great way to build the house of your dreams without burying yourself in debt.

Any young millennial couple who recently bought a house would agree that their life has become a whole lot more difficult after taking on a mortgage of $300K or more, depending on the geographic location. So, why overpay for a conventional house, when there is a more affordable way? Needless to say, you would have to be open-minded about the whole shipping containers idea.

The green and black containers house

Green and black containers house

Via Digital Trends

Located in France, this house measures 1,119 sq. ft. and is made of two metal containers positioned on top of each other. Maybe you don’t like the green color, but this is not a reason to dislike this design. Remember that you are free to paint it in whatever color you want. Besides, you have to appreciate the desire of architects to make the construction look as if it defies the laws of physics.

Inside, you will see the house looks like any other one: wooden floor, white walls, and a comfortable sofa in the living room. If you go upstairs you will find the bedroom that has a door (or a window, you can’t tell for sure from the picture) that leads to the top of the first container. You can put some grass there or add a chaise lounge to get a tan during hot summer days. 

PV14 house

Containers house with pool

Via PV14 house

Here’s what a guy from Dallas, Texas, managed to build; an impressive house comprised of 14 steel shipping containers designed and built for around $350,000 – $490,000 (estimated total cost to build). It has an impressive surface of 3,700 sq. ft., featuring 3 bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, a garage large enough to fit 2 cars, and a roof deck.

There is also a study that the owner (who is an architect) probably uses for late-night work. You must admit that the design is innovative. You can barely tell the walls are made of metal. On the other hand, your bank account would definitely tell if you were to build a regular 3,700 sq. ft. house with pool.


PV14 House interior by Wade Griffith Photography

Container house on water

The house below seems to be made of six metal containers put side by side near a river. You can’t see  it in this picture but the construction has a greenfield on the top, which is another trend that becomes more and more popular.

Located in Scotland, this container house hosted tourists from all over the world: Australia, America, Africa, Asia and Europe (even Eastern Europeans like Russians and Romanians can afford to stay a few nights – just kidding, people are not that poor in these areas as the West world tends to think). 

Container house on water

Via Digital Trends

If you want to build one of these for yourself, you have to take into account the location. Some shores are not suitable for constructions and you will have to apply for a permit to find out if you can go ahead with the project.

Don’t forget about a site plan: contact for more details.

Container house made of 2 pieces

Container house made of 2 pieces

Via Digital Trends

This house is basically made of two pieces separated by a small yard where you can install a patio and furniture. If you have pets and/or children this space is very useful.

You will always be able to keep an eye on your kids just by glancing out the window. This design basically features two separate house, a situation perfect for a recently married couple who want to stay close to their parents.

The floors are made of concrete and fir while the large panels made of glass are found on every side of the constructions. The entire property measures 1,920 sq. ft., the main building being made of 6 shipping containers.

The owners wanted to direct attention away from the fact that the walls are made of metal and hid them behind drywalls, so that the construction looks like any other house. If you don’t see the exterior, you can never tell that the house is made of shipping containers.

Small container house

Small container house

Via Digital Trends

Made of two shipping containers and other materials, this house covers 1,517 sq. ft. of Nederland, Colorado. The main living space is inside the containers where you will find 2 bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom, an office and a laundry room.

The house looks and actually is very spacious. The ground floor combines the living room with the kitchen in a beautiful open space design.

You can install solar panels on the roof to make your own electricity. As you see, the house is located on a rocky hill where it can be hard to get electricity and running water but you will find a solution if you don’t want to live off grid as some of use would love to.

The above house was custom-designed and built for $265,475, which includes the cost of architecture and design, permitting and planning, site work, and the cost of materials and construction.

House made of 8 shipping containers

House made of 8 containers

Via Digital Trends

This is a big house of 2,200 sq. ft. located in Lille, France. The designer opted to not remove the containers’ doors as they can be closed manually whenever you need some privacy. The inside is spacious and the link between the two floors is made of a slim metal staircase.

Downstairs you have the living room and kitchen while upstairs there are the bedrooms. The rooms are connected through floors and bars of metal to maintain an industrial look but you can ditch those and choose the elegant option: wood.

8 containers are needed for this construction. Include the labor costs coupled with the materials needed to unite the containers, and you easily get to $100,000. Permitting, planning, architectural designs, and interior finishes, will put you well over $150,000 (estimated).

White container house

White container house

Via Dezeen

The façade is asymmetric having a parking space big enough to accommodate 2 SUVs. You will see this house in France tucked between a bunch of regular houses.

One thing we can all agree to is that the house definitely stands out with all its angles. At a first glance, it doesn’t look to be made of shipping containers but if you look closer you will see it’s a metal modular home that fits a limited budget.

You have to contact a specialized company to turn the containers into living spaces by adding insulation, electrical wires and to make other necessary changes.

Adjusting the containers off site and simply having them delivered to the location highly reduces the building time. For example, this particular design was built in only 3 months.

Low-cost container house

Low cost container house

Via Dezeen

Here’s a futuristic design that requires some extra investments. It’s not that easy to find workers who know how to implement the design, nor to find an architect to put it on paper.

You need about 10 shipping containers, which means that the raw materials price starts at about $20,000 (at an average price of $2,000 per container).

Obviously, the actual cost to design and build, with all the permitting, design, and interior finishes will likely put the total cost at well over $100K mark.

The construction is actually a studio in Germany built in 2010 and represents the concept of a photographer named James Whitaker.

The downside is there is no garage, but if you own enough land, you can park it nearby. The design allows plenty of natural light to get inside and its radial composition is definitely unique.

Stacked containers house

Stacked containers house

Via Dezeen

This design is quite similar to the one featuring a green and a black container. The bars you see to the left of the construction actually make a balcony.

The outer wall of the balcony is made of a short rectangle of glass. On top of the brown container, there is a deck surrounded by glass walls and a staircase that leads back to the ground meaning that you can reach the top floor directly from outside the house.

The containers were assembled around a steel framework. When you go inside you will see a living space downstairs with a sofa in front of a metal fireplace. The indoor staircase is also made of metal and leads to the top floor where you find the master bedroom.

Cross-shaped micro-home

Cross shaped microhome

Via Dezeen

Given its cross shape, this design can create a bit of controversy especially if you live in an area where the majority of population isn’t Christian. To me and many other people out there, this is just a house made of shipping containers positioned perpendicular to each other.

It makes good use of vertical space and it definitely stands out. The concept revolves around self-sufficiency, so this would be an off grid house. It was actually designed as a skit for a single person. Using waste materials significantly reduces the costs.

There actually are 4 levels in this house. From the ground up: the first is the lobby, the second is the bathroom, the third is represented by the horizontal container and holds the rooms and the kitchen while the fourth can be turned into a study with a door toward a deck on top of the horizontal container.

Two-story shipping container house

Two-story shipping container house

Via Container Home Plans

This design masks the metal with pallets giving the house an appearance suitable for a Jamaican beach. The house is Eco-friendly, meaning it’s built with 85% recycled materials. Proper insulation eliminates the problem of condensation and maintains the right temperature during both summer and winter.

Tiny shipping container house

Tiny shipping container house

Via Container Home Plans

Here’s a single container house with solar panels. If you do some smart planning, you can probably keep the costs under $50,000.

You might think that buying a shipping container for a couple thousands dollars is all you have to do in order to obtain this house, but it’s a bit more complicated than this.

The building is meant to accommodate a family of four and to supply it own energy. The deck allows you to eat breakfast outside if you buy some patio furniture.

Sloped roof shipping container house

Sloped roof shipping container house

Via Container Home Plans

This house has a big sloped roof that you can cover with grass. The brown material you see in the picture is actually a bamboo lining that insulates that containers making them appropriate for human beings.

Remember that it’s not just a container, but it’s a home dwelling that’s supposed to abide by local building code regulations. That’s why you will need a permit and to make sure the house is not a fire hazard. The design seems a bit closed-off, but you can open it up a bit by adding larger windows.

Big metal containers house

Big metal containers house

Via Container Home Plans

This container house is a big one built with 40-footers. If you were to build a regular house that’s the same size, you’d do it in twice the time. This home is located in Costa Rica and is designed to withhold tropical weather. For example, you can apply a special type of paint that protects the container against frequent rain showers.

White container house with 2 levels

White container house with 2 levels

Via Container Home Plans

This design is perfect for areas where floods occur often because the ground floor containers are flood proof. They also resist wind speeds up to 175 mph.

The weight capability of these containers is quite amazing. You can stack as much as 7 containers on top of one another, meaning that the base container holds close to 200 tons (each container holds up to 30 tons of weight). This house covers at least 2000 sq. ft. and has a big garage that can fit 2 cars.

Single shipping container house

Single shipping container house

Via Design Milk

If you want to keep the costs to a minimum, this is the design you want. You need to buy only 1 container and then make the necessary changes. For example, the one in the image is coated with treated lumber to give it a more natural appearance. However, this is not a good idea for houses in rainy areas because wood rapidly deteriorates in contact with water.

Huge modern shipping container house

Huge modern shipping container house

Via Shipping Container House Design

Here’s a gorgeous house with 2 stories off the ground house with a big garage. Whoever designed it did a pretty great job concealing the fact that it’s made of shipping containers.

Note how the black color combines with the white creating a modern look. The bars of the balconies are designed to allow you to see the view without standing up. For example, you sit on a comfortable chair to drink your coffee in the morning and you see everything as if you were standing because the bars are thin enough to provide a clear view.

Container home with roof terrace

Container home with roof terrace

Via Off Grid World

And last, here’s is a computer-generated design of a house that offers plenty of outdoor space. Notice how you can get to the roof directly from the ground. The house measures 1280 sq. ft. and about 9660 sq. ft. are made of patio or deck space.

Notice that on the side of the roof there are solar panels to make the house self-sufficient. With proper sourcing and planning, you should pay no more than $75,000 – $125,000 (estimated) for the entire construction including PV solar panels. Not bad for a house this big, isn’t it?


You may not have liked every single design we presented here, but you must have understood two things:

  1. Shipping container houses are significantly cheaper to build than regular homes. They are very resource efficient and can be made to look like regular houses.
  2. You will need a building permit to build or install a container house, and you’ll likely need a site plan in order to obtain the building permit.

best shipping container homes from around the world

Do you have an inordinate amount of shipping containers? Are you trying to figure out what to do with all them? In the unlikely event that the answer to this question is “yes,” you’ll be pleased to learn that they’re far more practical than you may have imagined. And if, as is more likely, the answer is “no,” then good news! You can grab yourself a decent-size shipping container for just over $1,500 — sans renovations, of course.

Shipping containers are flood- and fireproof, making them a great home-building material. Ranging in length from 20 to 30 feet, shipping containers are typically only used for 10 to 15 years, but they can last much longer. It is estimated that there are 24 million empty shipping containers in the world that will never be used for cargo again. But, as the saying goes, one man’s retired shipping container is another man’s crazy, high-end modular home. What? That’s not a saying? It should be. Without further ado, here are some of the raddest shipping container homes on the planet.


Jens Markus Lindhe

Location: Wuxi, China

Design: Arcgency, Esbensen, Teknologisk Institut

The WFH House is coined as more than just architecture — it’s a sustainable product. The dwelling is a prefab home, meaning it can be exported anywhere in the world, though, the first model was finished in 2012 and is located in Wuxi, China. It’s equipped with solar cells and a green roof, not to mention an underground storage container for housing rainwater. The WGH House uses 40-feet-high shipping contains as the structural framework, rendering it adaptable earthquakes, climate change, and other local challenges.


Location: Cavan, Ireland

Design: Patrick Bradley Architects

Located on the banks of the Grillagh River in Cavan, Ireland, the Grillagh River House is a hidden marvel situated in the rural countryside. The home is the first modern shipping container home designed and built in Ireland, one that utilizes four 45-foot shipping containers to create two cantilever forms. The home’s layout has been cleverly designed to take full advantage of the surrounding pastoral views, culminating in a home that’s as beautiful to look at as it is out of.


Location: Prefab home certified for California, Washington, British Columbia, and Alberta

Design: Honomobo

Made from four 40-foot shipping containers, the HO4+ is another prefab home that could be your new forever home. There are two floor plans currently available, one featuring three bedrooms and one bathroom, and another that consists of two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Both floor plans include a large living room, however, as well as a dining room and full kitchen, that latter of which is finished from floor to ceiling with glass. This single level home measures 1,224 square feet, and given its prefab nature, can be built anywhere.


Location: Saugerties, New York

Design: Nowhere Studios

If you don’t want to fully commit to a shipping container home, you can stay in this cozy cabin in the Catskills Mountains for $195 a night. The 20-foot shipping container sits on 20 acres, and features a wood stove, sofa bed, kitchenette, and writing desk, among other modern amenities. With low-energy windows and sliding glass doors, staying warm isn’t an issue, nor is relaxing given the hammock, hot tub, and 64-square-foot yoga platform that reside just outside the residence. Needless to say, nature is rarely as accommodating.


Matthew Carbone

Location: Annandale-On-Hudson, New York

Design: MB Architecture

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but this media lab at Bard College apparently was. The installers reportedly assembled the structure on site in a mere half a day, costing a total of about $200,000. The two-story structure emphasizes tranquility, with open spaces to work in, an unassuming black and white color palate, and plentiful windows to let in natural light and give students a view of the trees just outside. A large garage door opens up, granting access to the main room. While it’s not technically a house, MB Architecture’s site states that the same design could be outfitted with a kitchen and bathrooms to make a functional living space.Sponsored by Sherwin-WilliamsHow to Be Handy at HomeLearn how to master these DIY projects all on your own!SEE MORE


shipping container homes
Budi Pradono Architects

Location: Lombok, Indonesia

Design: Budi Pradono Architects

The Clay House — or “Seven Havens,” as it has come to be known as — was constructed in the southwestern portion of the Lombok province, which is located just east of Bali. This bodacious box home is nestled on a set of concrete stilts, allowing the residence to sit just above the hillside for optimal views of the Selong Belanak. The container that creates the ceiling of the master bedroom is also set at a 60-degree tilt, giving the room a wedge shape that faces the bay. Budipradono Architects used a similar slanted design technique — albeit, a steeper one — when constructing another private residence in Indonesia known locally as “The Leaning House of Jakarta.”


Brown Brothers

Location: Apslawn, Tasmania

Design: Cumulus Studio

The design firm Cumulus Studio created this property for the Brown Brothers winery. The premises is comprised of three main sections, each of which provides guests with panoramic views of Moulting Lagoon, Freycinet Peninsula, and the Devil’s Cornervineyard. A series of timber-clad shipping containers surround an open-air terrace, where guests can imbibe the choicest of Tasmanian quaffs.


Ccasa Hostel

Location: Nha Trang, Vietnam

Design: TAK Architects

Vietnamese studio TAK Architects created this vibrant hostel near the center of Nha Trang. Within the walls of the property, a stack of polished shipping containers have been transformed into minimally furnished dormitories for wayfarers passing through southeast Asia. The pergola surrounding the individual containers helps to shield the units from direct sunlight during warmer months. The property is also just 600 feet from the beach, offering guests sweet, sandy solitude if they need to take a break from the bustling backpackers’ retreat.


Urban Rigger

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Design: Urban Rigger and Bjarke Ingels

Urban Rigger worked with architecture firm Bjarke Ingels to create this floating student housing project in Copenhagen. The main objective was to create affordable modular housing within the urban harbors. Individuals can rent a unit at Urban Rigger for just $600 per month, which is a steal considering Copenhagen is notoriously one of the most expensive cities on Earth. The homes include a private bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen with shared living spaces. The outside of the facility features community gardens, kayak landings, and bathing platforms. Canadian construction firm Honomobo is also creating modular, stackable housing using shipping containers.Sponsored by Sherwin-WilliamsColorful Paint ProjectsThese trending décor colors are just what your home needs.SEE MORE


Lorena Darquea Schettini/Daniel Moreno & Sebastián Calero Architects

Location: Pichincha, Ecuador

Design: Daniel Moreno Flores and Sebastian Calero

Designed by architecture powerhouse couple Daniel Moreno Flores and Sebastian Calero, this shipping container home is situated in central Ecuador. The team used a total of seven 20-foot shipping containers and one 40-foot container to build the sprawling abode. The home, which is made of a host of individual modules, can be quickly disassembled and transported for a sudden change of scenery.

Is there something wrong with Shipping Container Housing?

One architect responded “Yes, everything! In Denmark, shipping containers have become such a big thing that they are even placing them in glass cases. Ever since I was ten, I have not the best relationship with shipping containers, this was when my father entered the container business. Back then they were manufactured in Canada and the USA, they were quite expensive, no one ever thought of living in them. However, every once in awhile he would receive a picture if a container in Africa which had fallen off a truck, windows as well as doors had been cut right into the walls”.


My First Year Summer Camp

While in University, I had a bit of fun with them. I designed, for temporary use a summer camp which would fold out of a forty footer. Being as you never would really use a container empty, the dimensions were not really ideal for people to use, insecticides were used to treat the flooring, the paint had been designed to last on high seas for at least ten years, this means that they were highly industrial. Not sticking to containers may have been a very bad career choice, however my attempts at tiny homes and modular construction did not quite pan out either.

The lesson here may very well be that when housing is in question, technology or perhaps the lack thereof is probably not the fundamental issue. After I in a very bemused way watched all the shipping container schemes which were being broadcasted, I wondered if there was any sense to shipping container architecture. This was a few years back, now however and as a response to the same architectural competition which was covered here, OpenScope Studios architect, Mark Hogan made a list with questions of his own.

Having actually built a container as a project, he is able to speak from personal experience, he states: “Sites in which it is not desirable or feasible to have on-site construction, a sensible option may be to fit a container out in the factory.” But what about for housing? Mark makes some very valid points on his personal website, here are a few of the ones I found most interesting:

Generally, Housing Is Not a Technology Issue.

Everywhere in the world you will find vernacular housing, generally, due to the local weather it will work pretty well. There are places that have shortage of material or cases where housing which is factory built may be more appropriate, this is especially true if an area is in recovery from a disaster. This would be a case in which it would make sense to have prefab buildings, having them made in containers however would not make blueprints

Here I may point out that the amazing genius of shipping container does not lie in the box itself but in the handling systems. There are cranes, ships, trains and trucks which are designed around them So if these can be delivered quickly after a disaster, the shipping container is the very best form. A fundamental problem is then addressed by him and that is width, it really is just too narrow. Insulation is another huge issue and at last there is someone who understands structure.


Cantilever proposals can be seen everywhere. Containers which are stacked much like Lego building blocks, perhaps with one layer that is perpendicular to the other. Architects are obsessed with kind of stuff, much like the generally meaningless and misleading phrases they throw around like “kit of parts”. But guess what, the moment the containers are not stacked on their corners, the structure which is built into the containers requires duplication with reinforcements of heavy steel.

The top rails as well as the containers roof are not at all structural, the roof of a container is made of light gauge steel, even if you step on it, it will easily dent. If openings are cut in the container walls, the entire structure will begin to deflect and because the sides, which are corrugated work as the flange of beam, once large pieces have been removed the beam will no longer work, they will need to be reinforced. Steel reinforcing can be quite expensive; however, it is the only way in which a “double-wide” can be built.

Utilities and Mechanical Systems

Here is a very important one which had never occurred to me. A lot of space to run utilities is required in a large building. Due to the above mentioned insulation issues, a very robust HVAC system must be installed to cool and heat the building. Passive strategies such as thermal mass will be difficult to take advantage of if the container remains aesthetic. You will also be stuck with ceilings that are very low being as even high cube containers are a mere 9-’6” (2.9m) of general height on the exterior, this means that any kind of utilities or ductwork begin to cut off head space.


The issue of recycling is something else that Mark mentions. In the past I too have looked at this, I did a calculation of the Upcycle House which ambitiously was attempting to become the first house ever constructed from environmentally sustainable and upcycled materials. The calculation was to determine if the use off two shipping containers for the house structure was the best and highest use possible:

The weight of a 40’ shipping container is 8,380 pounds; the weight of a galvanized steel stud is one pound per linear foot. Once these two containers had been melted down, rolled and then formed would have been upcycled into steel studs that were 2,095 8’ long. If walls were framed as opposed to using shipping containers, would have required the use of about one hundred and forty-four of them. It is actually downcycling to use shipping containers for structural elements of a building that is one storey, and that is a waste of a resource.

More steel than is needed for a building is found in a shipping container; this is so that they will be able to be stacked nine high, tossed around while out at sea, tossed on trucks and trains without suffering any damage. When it is put into a house, it is a real waste. Mark intelligently points out that it will probably be built for much less and in a shorter amount of time if you do not bring in a welder that will only mess up a shipping container.

Building a room that size can easily be done, even by someone who is relatively untrained, it can even be made of simple wood framing in only a day, you will not have to even rent a crane or take on welding classes, this may even cost around the same if not less than purchasing a used container.

Let me make it clear that I absolutely love shipping container architecture which moves and can plug in, this is really making the most out of an amazing infrastructure. I am in agreeance with Mark, for temporary or emergency use, it is terrific. However is it good for housing?  What are your views on the subject?  Have you built one yourself?  Let us know in the comments.

Does this book make the ‘Affordable’ Dream House Become Reality?

Shipping container home

Build A Container Home – Can it really be as easy as this book makes it seem?

Like many people who are looking at creating a unique and affordable home, you may have found that shipping containers are an unusual yet extremely reliable building block for your project. Many people wonder whether building a home out of shipping containers is a good idea… read what this real estate investor thinks about it.

There are products available to guide you step by step through the process of building your own home out of one (or many!) of these containers, and the e-book “Build A Container Home” is one that I’ve spent time researching.  Does this book give you everything you need to know? All my findings are in the following article.

Continue reading Does this book make the ‘Affordable’ Dream House Become Reality?

London’s Intermodal Container Village


Architects, civil engineers, urban planners, and even interior decorators have been at work in transforming shipping containers into a wide range of structures for the past 20 years. While these shipping container homes, admittedly, are being constructed primarily for economic necessity, most of them have managed to become aesthetic representations of the people who own them.

Trinity Buoy, London – A Solution to Skyrocketing House/Office Prices

container city

Some people live on boats so why not in shipping containers? With prices of homes rising steadily on the upward trend, people are considering other options instead of compromising their hard-earned cash just to get a step on the current property ladder. For the first-time purchaser in the U.K., the average price for a house by 2020 would reach almost a quarter of one million pounds.

For those who want to reside in London with budgets that do not fit the city’s skyrocketing real estate prices, the Container City at the Trinity Buoy Wharf is the perfect solution. Its completion in 2002 added another attraction to the wharf area other than London’s only lighthouse, albeit no longer functional, and shows no sign of a let-up in eager buyers.

These apartment-type containers cost from £600 to £1000 monthly in rental, a comparatively low price to pay to live in London’s central district. All these containers, made from surplus shipping container vans, have been designed to be sustainable using an “Urban Space Management” trademark. This involves utilising the forty-foot standard equivalent of shipping container units to create flexible, comfortable accommodations.


How to Create Prosperity and Wealth


While Urban Space Management’s plans to construct more residential structures from containers, houses such as these have diversified into classrooms, retail and office spaces, and youth centres. This development at the London Docklands has made the Trinity Buoy Wharf a haven for those who desire flexibility, scale, and sustainability in their habitats.


The Trinity Buoy Wharf has work studios as well as work and live lofts that are stacked one on top of the other that are component pieces instead of the conventional units. Urban Space Management founder Eric Reynolds believes that creating prosperity and wealth in any place must start by filling it with people who are, economically, “poor” but equally “artistic.”

interior Container_City


Where Artists Go, People Follow

Container City’s current “artistic” residents include journalist-broadcaster Caroline Barker, Russell Grant of “Strictly Come Dancing,” makeup artist Becky McGahern, and others who work on creative processes such as sculptors, textile designers, painters, and electronic imaging experimentalists, to name a few. Reynolds believes that where artistic people go, others will soon follow.


Trinity Buoy Wharf now has affordable studios and workshops that are placed cozily next to one another, the complete solution to the perpetual demons known as isolation and poverty — that stalk artists everywhere. This isn’t surprising when one discovers that Reynolds transformed the erstwhile derelict Camden Town, then a canal zone that was not only run down and dirty but dangerous, into an artistic enclave in 1974.


A “Far-Sighted Decision” for Creative Purposes

According to Reynolds, Container City homes and work spaces cost only £5 for one square foot yearly, meaning some tenants pay merely £40 weekly. You won’t find corporate bulldozers at Trinity Buoy Wharf because their absence is the “far-sighted decision” of the former LDDC (London Docklands Development Commission) to sell the site to Reynolds for £1 if Reynolds will use it for creative purposes.


Instead of being flogged with commercial and residential residences for urban professionals such as bankers, lawyers, accountants, and other white collar workers. According to Reynolds, the Trinity Buoy Wharf Trust is Urban Space Management’s “landlord,” with a long-term lease of 120 years. Reynolds’ company pays the Trust with a fixed percentage of 25% from whatever Urban Space Management makes annually.

Growing at One’s Own Pace

This arrangement, Reynolds explained, enables Urban Space Management to grow at their own pace instead of having them keep up with commercial land value. Still according to Reynolds, one can buy redundant shipping containers for as low as £600 each, insulate them, cut out holes for windows, and stack them one on top of another. Even with the addition of power and plumbing you can still charge £30 per square foot.


If one uses conventional methods in putting up an industrial building in its simplest structure, Reynolds said, the cost could start at £75 and rise from £120 to £130 if difficult conditions are encountered during construction. For developers to obtain a substantial return on their investment in a considerable period of time, they would have to charge more than £50 for each square foot yearly.


Amazingly Creative

Reynolds has a long waiting list of individuals who are, in his words, “desperate” to reside and do creative work in one of its shipping container home and studio. Urban Space Management is currently constructing Container City 2, proof of the success of its predecessor. The second Container City, still based on shipping container plans, will have five floors with 30 units.


Thirty-three year old video artist Alex Sandover and his two terriers occupy one of the top floor’s studios, one of 55 artists who are currently renting other studio units. The shipping container homes at Container City are not interspersed with feng shui water fountains, landscaping, and other residential development amenities. But, for all intents and purposes, this Trinity Buoy Wharf community looks and feels amazingly creative.

If you’d like to see some ideas on your own smaller scale version of this – check out these plans.



More Free Shipping Container Home Floor Plans

planningAs promised, here’s the next set of shipping container home plans.  If you have any feedback on the types of plans you would like to see in the future, let me know.  The same goes for any other information you’d like to be covered on this site.

If you’d like to see the original set of plans, then follow this link.

If you’re looking through these plans and finding it hard to visual just what the results could look like, then take a look at the following video.  This is an incredible modern design, and uses a split level to get even more usable space out of each container.  I was skeptical as to whether this could work, but this video has changed my mind!


So let’s begin with the designs that you could use to build your own container home.

Plan 4


So here we have another double-container plan.  This is a bright and airy design for both the living space and the bedroom.

Plan 5

This design uses three containers, creating a very spacious living area, a decent sized shower room, and a bedroom that is split into two areas.



Plan 6

OK, so this may be a little ambitious, but isn’t that part of the beauty of this kind of building?  This is a 3 level building, and while the engineers out there might be screaming that this won’t work, there’s always a chance that someone can come up with a way of doing this for real.  OK, the garage might be a push, but using the bottom floor for a motorcycle store, or other kind of practical unit isn’t outside the realms of possibility.  It might be perfect for those of you who drive Smart cars.  Let’s hear your thoughts for improvements!



Well that’s it for this section.  If you’d like to see more designs, then please let us know in the comments, and I’ll create some more.

If you have any of your own designs that you’d like to share then let me know and I’ll be in touch.  If you’d like to practise creating your own shipping container hoime designs, then have a look at this page for more info.



4 questions to ask before building a house from shipping containers

questions to askAs the difficulty of finding affordable housing continues to hound homebuyers, the pursuit of building one’s own house has become increasingly popular not only for those who have a tight budget but also for those who are concerned about the environment as well. A shipping container home may be one of the best options that you can consider.
Here are some things to think about before deciding to build your home out of a shipping container.

Continue reading 4 questions to ask before building a house from shipping containers

How about a swimming pool made from cargo containers?

shipping swimming poSo is this the next big thing for shipping containers?  Having a house made from one, and then with a swimming pool made from the same material outside?

OK, it’s not a huge pool.  But it’s more than enough for the average family home.  I think this has got to be one of the best uses yet for these things.

You end up with a 20 or 40 foot long pool, which is eight feet wide and eight feet deep.

This company in the UK is already supplying containers which are ideal for this purpose.



Start Building With Shipping Containers