Israel Gets a Shipping Container Student Village


A brand new student village recently opened its doors in the town of Sderot in Israel. What sets it apart from other such villages is the fact that it was built entirely out of used shipping containers. All the work was also done by the students themselves, many with no prior construction experience, under the watchful eye of Ayalim, Israel’s largest youth organization.

Construction started in June 2014 and by early December 2014, the units were ready for habitation. The village was built using 36 recycled shipping containers, which yielded 150 apartment units. The construction was done by 1000 students and pre-army volunteers, who picked up valuable construction skills as they worked. About 300 of these will stay in the village and attend the nearby Sapir Academic College. The units are made available to them for a subsidized rent, so long as they perform 500 hours of community service in Sderot annually.




The shipping container village is comprised of three separate structures, each rising three stories. The shipping containers used to build them were pretty much left in their original state, at least from the outside, and stacked one atop another much like they would be on a ship while still transporting goods.

On the inside, little suggests the units are made out of shipping containers. The walls were covered in drywall and painted white to give the sense of spaciousness. The units were also fitted with large windows that let in plenty of natural daylight and offer good ventilation. The apartments are comfortably furnished, and contain a fully functional kitchen, living area, bedroom and bathroom.

The main aim of this project was to get young people to stay in the village even after they finish their studies. Apparently the biggest obstacle for people settling and studying in this region of the country is lack of affordable housing, which is what the Ayalim is trying to remedy through this project. It is certainly nice to see large scale cargotecture projects like this start to crop up all over the world and hopefully there will be many more.


Shipping Container School Built in Africa

Shipping Container School Built in Africa


Due to being inexpensive and readily available, shipping containers are often used for building affordable housing for the less fortunate. This was recently proven by the Johannesburg, South Africa firm Architecture for a change (A4AC) who used shipping containers to construct a school and community center Malawi. The structure is also capable of operating independent of the grid, since it is equipped with a rainwater harvesting system and a solar power array.


The Legson Kayira Community Center and Primary School, as the complex is called, measures 4,090 square feet (380 square meters). The designers kept the structure very simple. It is made up of two classrooms and a large central courtyard, along with some bleachers. The school primarily educates children, though the building also houses an adult training center.


Since insulation is one of the main concerns when using shipping containers as building blocks, the architects needed to find a solution, which would work in the hot climate of South Africa. They opted for a covered canopy-type design, which features a larger covered area that provides shade, as well as open, well-lit and well-ventilated spaces.

The shipping containers used were per-fabricated off-site at A4AC’s workshop in South Africa, and then transported to Malawi. The shipping containers used are supported by a lightweight steel supporting frame and roof. Some of the sides of the containers were also removed and replaced by louvered walls, which further aids in the natural ventilation.




Also, the classroom doors can be opened on a hinge, which again aids ventilation, as well as make sit possible to turn an indoor space into a semi-outdoor space if needed. To block out the sun and provide shade, designers used netting. Water is recycled via channels in the sloping roof and kept in water storage tanks. The school is also fitted with a rooftop mounted solar power array, which harvests enough power to provide indoor lighting, and serve all the other power needs of the school.

The school took only about eight weeks to complete. Also, it was designed in such a way that additional shipping containers can be added to expand it, should the need arise. This is yet another great thing about using shipping containers as building blocks.



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.

Apartment Building Made of Shipping Containers Goes Up in Washington DC

By Christine Walsh on Nov. 25, 2014


Washington D.C. recently got it’s first piece of residential shipping container architecture in the form of a Brookland apartment building. The project was the brainchild of DC-based architect Travis Price and his partner Kelly Davies, who did the work for owners Matthew Grave and Sean Joiner. The residential building, located at 3305 7th Street NE, was built to replace a run down family home that once occupied the spot.


The architects used 18 recycled shipping containers to construct the 24 one-bedroom units, which are intended to be rented out as student housing. The containers they used are 10-feet high, which make them perfect for small apartments. By using repurposed shipping containers they were also able to keep the cost of construction down, and below that of traditional construction prices.

But being built out of shipping containers isn’t the only sustainable part of these homes. The architects also used recycled materials for the interiors, such as the flooring, which is made from welded metal and wide-plank. They used corrugated plastic on the exterior of the building.

Large French windows were installed on the shorter side of each container, allowing plenty of daylight to enter the home. The longer sides were also fitted with large windows, to lessen the feeling of living in a box that can sometimes come from living in a shipping container. The units themselves are very sparsely furnished, and each features a bedroom and a bathroom, with a communal living area and kitchen on each of the floors. Though the units are meant for a single person, they could easily house two as well.




The entire project took seven months to complete, from design idea to finished building. Despite protests from the neighborhood they were able to stay on track with the construction.

A Gorgeous Shipping Container-Like Beach House

By Christine Walsh on Sep. 18, 2014

The so-called Coromandel Bach beach home was designed by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects, who drew inspiration from shipping container architecture. The home, which was built like a container, is located in the picturesque region of Coromandel, New Zealand. In building the home the architects wanted to stay true to the traditional New Zealand building methods by designing a structure that was both raw and unique, when it comes to cladding, lining and joinery.


The container house is clad in unadorned natural timber, which is a sustainable and renewable resource and serves to link the home to its natural environment. An open plan living area takes up most of the interior of the house and it is open on both sides to make the space appear larger and provide stunning views of the ocean and surrounding countryside. The house has four bedrooms: three smaller ones on one side of the container-like structure, and a master bedroom on the other side.

There is also a large fireplace in the living room, which is enough to heat the house during the winter. The home also has a fully equipped kitchen and bathroom, which features a removable bathtub, that can be placed anywhere in the home or on the deck.


The builders also installed a simple mechanism, which allows the sides to open and close. When opened, they provide a spacious deck, and when closed they keep the home secure. Apart from the two large windows, there is also a series of projections and cutouts, which punctuate the walls, providing natural light and capturing specific views. Inside, the floors are made of white oiled American oak, and the walls are lined with hoop pine. Building wooden houses was also a tradition in New Zealand and the architects wanted to reflect that.