Taco Bell Builds a Restaurant out of Shipping Containers

By Christine Walsh

The fast food company Taco Bell has unveiled a new restaurant at this year’s SXSW in Austin, TX. What sets this one apart is the fact that it was constructed entirely out of shipping containers. It seems more and more business are starting to adopt this new architecture trend, which given the surplus of shipping containers piling up in US ports each month truly is great news!

In the case of Taco Bell, we can perhaps expect more of these types of cargotecture restaurants, since they’re planning to open 2,000 new locations in the US by 2022, which means they are looking to cut costs wherever they can.

The new shipping container Taco Bell only has about half the footprint of a traditional Taco Bell, and the one in Austin was built in just three days, with most of the pre-prep done off site, of course. They have also opted to leave the containers in the original industrial condition, and even though they have been repainted, the company chose a color very similar to the original finish.

They also did not alter the original shapes of the containers very much, apart from cutting out the openings for doors, windows and ventilation. The main shipping container is the one where food is ordered and picked up, and this container also houses one entire food prep line. If an additional food prep line is needed, such as in areas of higher traffic, a second shipping container could easily be attached to the structure to provide it. To fight the feeling of claustrophobia felt by the workers in the back of the container, they added a window to the food prep area, so the backs of the employees as they prepare food is visible to the customers ordering the food.

They placed the storage and operations area into a second container, which also houses the manager’s office. The third container rests atop the bottom two and houses all the necessary cooling equipment. It would appear they also cut one container in half, and then welded the two parts to the main structure. One of these contains the bathrooms and the other the freezer.

However, this restaurant has no indoor space for the customers to sit. There is an outdoor eating area equipped with tables built from refinished wood pallets and giant wire spools laid on their sides, which is also a nice way to repurpose these materials.

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.


Container Classroom

Slovenian Architect Transforms a Shipping Container Into a Temporary Classroom

by Jenny TranterArhitektura Jure Kotnik, shipping container architecture, eco housing, Kitsch Nitsch, eco play, green kids

Slovenian architect Jure Kotnik, recently provided a quick fix for a space shortage issue at a local kindergarten by transforming three steel shipping containers into a kid-friendly temporary building annex. Thanks to a trend in container architecture, shipping containers offer much more than a way to transport goods. Kotnik manufactures small container models named Conhouse to create instant housing for numerous applications, and here they work perfectly as a sustainable solution for a temporary classroom space for 14 children.

Arhitektura Jure Kotnik, shipping container architecture, eco housing, Kitsch Nitsch, eco play, green kids

This simple but quick and cost effective solution took just two weeks for Kotnikto implement. Three shipping containers were joined together to form the “parasite kindergarten unit”, and sticker artists Kitsch Nitschadded the necessary playful flavor with their colorful stickers which adorned the walls both inside and out. Although only used for a year at this kindergarten, the Conhouse shipping containers are designed to be easily deconstructed and reconstructed to be reused again, and again, and again.

Shipping Container Learning Center

Shipping Container Learning Center Lands In  Australian Aboriginal Community

by  Bridgette Meinhold

During the last 6 months, the Faculty of  Architecture, Building and Planning teamed up with the Faculty of Education at  the University of Melbourne to build a childhood learning center  for an indigenous community in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Using  four recycled shipping containers, the student team built the center in 10 days time using prefabricated  elements, a large shade roof and native landscaping. The University of Melbourne  partnered to build the project with the Gumala Aboriginal Corporation (GAC), and organization that  works to protect indigenous people’s heritage, culture and languages. The new  center aims to help prepare children with a solid foundation for their

Early Childhood Learning Center, University of Melbourne, Gumala Development Corporation, humanitarian design, shipping containers, cargotecture, australia

The student project was completed through a design/build course at the university as  part of the Bower Studio, a program that works with indigenous communities  to build the infrastructure. Over their fall semester, the students researched  and interviewed the community to discuss their needs and wants. The small  community of Wakuthuni, who are members of the GAC, asked to have the early  childhood center because they wanted their young children (infants to age 5) to  have the right start to their education.

Results of their research led the student team to design an open-air center  using four shipping containers. Three of the four containers  were shipped directly from Perth to the site, while the fourth container came  from Melbourne packed with tools, the prefabricated window units and the  over-arching roof. Students arrived in Wakuthuni on June 20th and spent the next  10 days hard at work placing the containers, building the deck and roof, and  planting the landscape with native flora.

The architecture students worked closely with the education students to  design a space to accommodate specific learning areas and to provide exactly  what the community wanted. The project was more than just about design and  construction, but also about listening and working with a client to produce a  meaningful project. Now that the center is completed, the Department of  Education is working with the community to develop a culturally appropriate  childhood education program. The architecture department has plans to continue  working with the GAC on sustainable housing and other humanitarian projects for the area.



Primary School Classroom Built Out Of Single Shipping Container (Humanity)

Escuela diseñada por Tsai Design Studio de Sudafrica.. la construcción de este tipo de espacios comunes, ya sean aulas de formación, comedores, etc,..que alberga un elevado número de personas en su interior, debe de ir convenientemente aislado del frio-calor, con una ventilación adecuada, una instalación eléctrica externa, salida de emergencia, etc…

Las normas en cuanto a seguridad deben cumplirse al máximo, sea cual sea el destino del container.