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Creative Uses for Shipping Containers

While most recognise shipping containers as, well, containers used for shipping, there are other ways to incorporate these items once they are no longer needed for their primary purpose.

One of the most popular uses of late for out of commission shipping containers is to build houses with them, but there are more things you can do if you have a shipping container or two laying about. A common problem, clearly.


Starting small, you can create a desk or chair out of pieces of a container, as long as you have the necessary tools to do so. Brazilian company gave the leftover pieces of its containers and to designers in Sao Paulo to create some amazing work.

Shipping containers as furniture

Source: ContainIt

Swimming pools

Not allowed to dig a deep pool in your yard? Shipping containers can solve that problem with a slightly above ground pool. Perfect for lane swimmers and families alike.

shipping container swimming pool, anyone?



Have a couple shipping containers lying around and no way to cross a river? Build a bridge, the Israelis did to help give people in Tel Aviv access to a national park.

Bridge made out of shipping containers in Israel

Source:Yoav Messer Architects


If you’ve ever been to London, there’s a good chance you’ve been to Shoreditch and seen the marketplace made of shipping containers, dubbed Boxpark. New York also has some of these constructions.

NYC shipping container popup

Source: Flickr | Payton Chung

Buenos Aires has made an entire shopping centre out of brightly coloured containers:

Buenos Aires shopping mall made from shipping containers

Source: Flickr | Inhabitat


Have you been to Wahaca Southbank Experiment in London? It’s a branch of the Mexican food chain built out of, you guessed it, shipping containers. If you don’t believe it, they even created a video about how it was built and decorated.

Shipping container restaurant: Wahaca, London

Source: Flickr | Steve Harris


London has a few of these constructions around, especially in the Docklands. Home to some unique art workshops and offices, they are only reminiscent of their former shapes.

Container City offices in London

Source: Container City

This office in Ashdod is actually in a port and made of out recycled containers.

shipping container terminal in Ashdod Port

Source: Potash Architects

Flats and homes

Offices are one thing, but constructing intriguing houses and living spaces out that are mostly pimped out shipping containers is another. And apparently not just fantasy.

first Shipping Container Home in the Mojave Desert

Source: homedsgn

Sustainable housing gets a makeover with Poteet Architects’ adorable guest house, complete with a front porch and a garden on the roof.

guest house made out of a shipping container


In London you can actually live in one of the Container Cities, built out of, you guessed it, shipping containers. Definitely some of the more colourful architecture of London.

Container City 2 in London

Source: Wikimedia | Cmglee

Dormitories for students

Are you a student tired of sharing a crowded living space in an ancient building? Amsterdam found answers to its growing student population in shipping containers, with the Project Keetwonen set to house 1,000 dorm rooms when it is relocated in 2016.

Student Housing Project Keetwonen, Amsterdam

Source:Tempo Housing

Utrecht University does something similar, and you can be sure that these come with the basic amenities, even some that regular student dormitories tend to leave out.

shipping container dorms in the Netherlands

Source: Flickr | Marja


Let’s not stop at workbspaces and homes, Urban Space Management has also built a series of classrooms in Southeast England. That’s right, not one, but several schools. This is not just limited to the UK, as shipping containers have been used for school purposes around the world.

Morpeth School: made out of shipping containers

Source: Container City

If you have all of these things but want to do something else, why not try some abstract art?

artwork in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Source: Wikimedia |Luuva

Before you decide to build your own flat in response to rent hikes, make sure you read the material on construction and hire a professional.