A Shipping Container Guest House That’s a Piece of Art

By Christine Walsh on Sep. 22, 2014


This cool, and vividly colored guesthouse was designed by Studio ArTe. It is located in the Algarve region in Portugal and was built out of a single, repurposed shipping container. The owners of a nearby home commissioned architect Arnold Aarssen to build an affordable guesthouse on their property. He opted to use a shipping container to construct it, in order to keep the costs down while still offering a comfortable living quarters.




The so-called Nomad Living guesthouse was built from a 40-foot shipping container and offers 320-square-feet of living space. The interior is comprised of a single room, which serves as the living room, dining room, and bedroom. The bathroom is located at one end of the shipping container and is separated from the rest of the home for privacy. The guesthouse only has no kitchen, though the occupants are welcome to use the outdoor kitchen that is part of the main property.

Since the climate in this part of Portugal is very warm the builders added a second roof over the container, which works to prevent the exterior of the metal container from absorbing too much heat. There is a wooden deck that runs around the front and side of the home on which a metal structure has been erected to hold up lace curtains that, when drawn, also lessen the impact of the midday sun, as well as give the occupants more privacy. One side of the container was removed to make room for large, sliding doors, which maximizes the amount of daylight entering the home. The large glass doors also offer great natural ventilation and make the guesthouse seem more spacious.


The architects left the exterior of the shipping container home in its original state, which gives the structure a modern feel. They did, however, cover the exterior with a coat of bright orange paint. While this was guesthouse conceived as a temporary home, it could easily become a permanent residence, especially if a kitchen was added to it.