10 Examples of Shipping Container Buildings from Around the World

The popularity of shipping container buildings in world architecture has only increased, both for residential and commercial purposes.ss

Are you looking for some inspiration to start your own shipping container project? Or wondering just how far the limits can be pushed for out-of-the-box architecture?

Below we’ve rounded up 10 creative examples of container buildings, including a high-rise store and a World Cup stadium.

10 Examples of Shipping Container Buildings from Around the World

1. Seoul Youth Zone Shipping Container Building, South Korea

Building type: youth zone

Features: unique sloped containers

Location: Seoul, South Korea

# of containers used: 13

Year: 2015

Architect: Think Tree Architects

seol building

Seoul Youth Zone is a 13-container building that advocates environmental and social sustainability. It’s designed for young people and contains a lounge, seminar rooms, shared kitchen facilities, office spaces, and other fun spaces.

The building itself incorporates 40 ft shipping containers arranged in a triangular shape for a more unique and striking silhouette. There’s also a folding glass door and lots of windows to keep the interior feeling more open and bright.

2. Stadium 974

Building type: stadium 

Features: 40,000 World Cup venue

Location: Doha, Qatar

# of containers used: 974

Year: 2021

Architect: Fenwick Iribarren Architects 

stadium

Shipping container restaurants and offices are cool, but have you seen an impressive 40,000-seat stadium made entirely out of shipping containers? Stadium 974 uses exactly 974 containers to create this architectural masterpiece, which is set to host the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

Its innovative and sustainable design names it the world’s first-ever fully demountable venue that will host a World Cup. Excavations began in 2019 and launched digitally in November 2021. Nestled on the waterfront of Doha, the entire building also supports reduced water usage by nearly 40%!

3. BakkeRij 

Building type: co-working office

Features: refurbished historic site, individual rentable office spaces

Location: Haarlem, the Netherlands

# of containers used: 60

Year: 2016

Architect: HER Architecten

co-working office building

A great way to purpose a shipping container building is as a commercial co-working office. The BakkeRij in Haarlem is one such example. It stands on a historical industrial site and was also previously a bakery facility, hence the name. 

60 shipping containers are stacked in rows to create a flowing workspace with traffic areas and common lounges. Moreover, each container has its own ventilation, electricity connection, and a glass wall that connects it with the rest of the building. This produces an open and flowing ambiance that may be preferable for the modern working lifestyle.

4. FREITAG Flagship Store

Building type: retail store

Features: 9 stories

Location: Zurich, Switzerland

# of containers used: 19

Year: 2006

Architect: spillmann echsle architekten

retail store building

FREITAG is a Swiss brand known for its high-quality recycled bags and its flagship store in Zurich is actually a great example of using shipping containers to construct a high-rise skyscraper. Four sales levels comprise the 9 towering stories made of 19 old containers. 

All reinforced and bolted together, the natural colors and rusty textures of the containers make for a striking facade indeed. There is even an observation deck on top where customers and guests can admire the surrounding cityscape. It’s definitely an ingenious way to attract more visitors to your store!

5. Tony’s Farm

Building type: vegetable farm

Features: lots of shades and quiet places

Location: Shanghai, China

# of containers used: 78

Year: 2011

Architect: Playze

vegetable farm
outside of building

Tony’s Farm in Shanghai makes use of 78 shipping containers to create a beautiful building complex that houses a vegetable farm, offices, lobby, reception, as well as the company’s packing warehouse. It spans over 11,400 square feet in space and includes a lot of quiet, shaded spaces in adherence to traditional Chinese architecture.

With the aim of utmost sustainability, this building is insulated to reduce energy loss, uses a geothermal heat pump for efficient heating, and LED lights for lighting. Better yet, its flooring incorporates local bamboo products!

6. Hotel WineBox Valparaiso

Building type: aparthotel

Features: colorful graffiti on the exterior

Location: Valparaiso, Chile

# of containers used: 25

Year: 2017

Architect: Camila Ulloa

hotel

This Chilean hotel uses 25 decommissioned shipping containers to build a property with 21 distinctive guest rooms with private terraces, pantries, dressing rooms, and elegant high ceilings. Much like an apartment building, you can find a comfortable lounge, rooftop bar, and BBQ facilities too.

Overall, Hotel WineBox Valparaiso combines recycled pallets and materials with a colorful design and eclectic style for a unique and remarkable vibe. We think that the graffiti paintings on the walls really enhance the building’s architecture too.

7. Stack II Office Building

Building type: office

Features: checkerboard façade, 90% recyclable materials

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

# of containers used:

Year: 2015

Architect: Arcgency

office outside area
large office building

Stack II by Arcgency is constructed from 20-feet containers over three stories and mostly recycled materials. It features 3-layered windows and natural ventilation, which can be especially important in an office building as it helps evoke a productive environment.

The building also sits on pillars that lift it off the site, which means disassembly is not only possible but also easy. Of course, there are floor-to-ceiling windows that make the most of the beautiful surroundings and interior windows to ensure a collaborative atmosphere.

8. Hughes Hall Porters’ Lodge

Building type: college reception

Features: simple design

Location: Cambridge, UK

# of containers used: 1

Year: 2018

Architect: Neubau

reception building

Perhaps the only single-container design on our list today, this sustainable building nestled in the University of Cambridge transforms a shipping container into a reception area for Hughes Hall college. It’s situated in the court entrance that was once an unused garden area, which helps create a new landscape.

The low-impact placement also features metal planters and railway sleeper benches for a quicker installation. Plus, the fact that it’s a non-permanent modular structure allows for more flexible changes in the future.

9. Shipping Container Wall for Concert Venue in Rio

Building type: concert venue installation

Features: illuminated wall

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

# of containers used:

Year: 2007

Architect: Bernardes Jacobsen

concert venue

Here’s an interesting and beautiful way of using shipping containers for unusual architecture. In Rio de Janeiro, architect Bernardes Jacobsen staggers many repurposed containers with random empty gaps for a huge, curving wall that can light up in the dark. The empty spaces help the structure integrate with the Morro do Pico hills in the backdrop.

This makes for a fun and dynamic installation in this temporary concert venue that combines both natural and manmade elements. The building also incorporates some projectors that are used to make the concert even more exciting.

10. Barneveld Noord Train Station

Building type: train station

Features: sleek black exterior

Location: Utrecht, the Netherlands

# of containers used: 4

Year: 2013

Architect: NL Architects

train station

Container buildings for public facilities are becoming more common, with Barneveld Noord being one of the pioneering structures out there. Built back in 2013, this small train station embraces a temporary concept and features a bike-repair shop with an overall cozy atmosphere that intends to maximize output with minimal effort.

The structure suspends three old shipping containers for a floating effect, while the fourth container is arranged vertically for a dramatic flair. On top of this container, a simple black clock makes for a striking final touch!

FAQ

What does ESR 4163 mean for you, the customer?

Code compliance is important for any structure made out of shipping containers. ESR 4163 is a regulation that allows us to supply containers as long as they comply with AC462 regulations. This means that Container Addict manufactures only with code-compliant containers, so you don’t have anything to worry about!

How hard is it to get a shipping container building permit?

Getting a shipping container building permit is a crucial part of your project. The good news is that it’s not hard at all, especially if you hire an expediter to speed up the process for you.

Are shipping container buildings cheaper than traditional construction?

Yes, shipping container buildings are generally cheaper than any traditional construction because you are using repurposed materials. You can cut down costs even more by sourcing recycled items for the interior and furnishing.

What are the drawbacks of container buildings?

Perhaps the biggest drawback of container buildings is the nontraditional building codes and approvals you have to go through. As we mentioned before, this isn’t impossible to sort out but is still more difficult than traditional permits.

Another possible disadvantage to keep in mind is that some containers were used for shipping hazardous chemicals, which may cause some corrosion. Rust is also a major problem with shipping containers.

Shipping Container Buildings Wrap-Up

Whatever you may need a shipping container building for, we hope this list could give you some inspiration. From farms and office spaces to residential hotels, the possibilities are endless!

True enough, when it comes to structures out of shipping containers, your creativity is the only limit. Architects and builders everywhere are continuously testing the boundaries of modern architecture and creating steel constructions that defy traditional styles.

So, what are you waiting for? Fill out this customization quote to know how much your dream container building will cost!

Ryan Stetson

Ryan Stetson

Currently own two 20' and 40' containers converted into an office/workshop. Having worked in the shipping industry for 6 years, my goal is to share my personal experiences as well as connect potential container buyers with suppliers around the US.

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