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 Store on the Beach

H&M Starts The Summer Right With a Pop-Up  Container Store on the Beach

by  Tafline Laylin
sustainable architecture, shipping container, WaterAid, H&M, Scheveningen, the Hague, Beachwear in Shades of Blue, green design, sustainable design, eco-design, chiarity,

Swedish retail giant H&M  started the summer right with a two day sale in a temporary container store that  popped up right on the beach! Situated at the Hague’s popular Scheveningen  seaside resort, the sale donated partial proceeds to WaterAid,  an international NGO that provides access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation  in the world’s poorest communities. Featuring their “Beachwear in Shades of Blue” line, the event marked the ninth annual collaboration  between H&M and WaterAid. But best of all? H&M  sold their true blue wares in a temporary container.

sustainable architecture, shipping container, WaterAid, H&M, Scheveningen, the Hague, Beachwear in Shades of Blue, green design, sustainable design, eco-design, chiarity,

Each year H&M donates 10% of the proceeds stemming from sales of a particular bikini to WaterAid. This year marked three particular departures from the  usual agreement. Not only did H&M expand their charitable contribution to  include an entire collection of beachwear, but this year they held a dedicated  event in this very cool pop-up shop to drum up further sales. And then they donated a whopping 25% of the  funds raised to WaterAid.

Tommy Hilfiger’s Berlin Shipping Container Installation

Tommy Hilfiger’s Berlin Shipping Container Installation Stacked with Dynamic Imagery

by Yuka Yoneda 

When we saw this sweet shipping container building showcasing the Tommy Hilfiger brand on the site of the former Templehof airport in Berlin, we could hardly «contain» ourselves. Constructed by Artdepartment-Berlin for the Bread & Butter fashion trade show, the temporary structure was made up of recycled cargo containers, which were stacked in various formations and emblazoned with eye-catching graphics. The resulting installation was a dynamic environment that reflected the energy of the Hilfiger aesthetic using eco-friendly materials on the inside and out.

While other similar trade show installations use brand new containers, all of the ones used for the Hilfiger show were recycled. The containers are refurbished at Bootsmanufaktur, a shipyard that also specializes rebuilding old boats. Because they required minimal construction, the containers only took one day to be placed, three days for rough construction and about three more days for the interiors to be finished.

On one side of the installation, Artdepartment-Berlin built a giant screen out of 10 containers. One face of each container was cut away and screens were placed inside. Using 10 back-pro beamers, one enormous picture was projected onto the screen, creating a dramatic backdrop for buyers to check out the line.

Shopping Mall Opens In Christchurch

START Shipping Container Mall Opens In Christchurch But Faces Lawsuit

by Andrew Micher

Earthquake recovery design, pop up mall, green shopping center,Re:Start Mall, Shipping container mall, Cargo container shopping mall, earthquake Christchurch container mall, eco mall, container shopping mall, pop up mall, Boxpark lawsuit,

The renewal of Christchurch, New Zealand after a devastating earthquake just took a huge leap with the opening of a pedestrian shopping mall made from shipping containers. The brightly colored stacked boxes hold 27 stores as part of the City Mall RE: START project. Thousands of visitors flocked to the temporary mall’s opening the first weekend to enjoy the café, the large pedestrian area and two horse-shoe shaped pavilions. The mall offers a bit of normalcy to the residents, and some serious contemporary eco-style. The project is one of many shipping container designs we have seen, but this particular design has come under fire by another group for breach of intellectual property rights. The group is currently using every means to either get a licensing agreement or shut it down.

Earthquake recovery design, pop up mall, green shopping center,Re:Start Mall, Shipping container mall, Cargo container shopping mall, earthquake Christchurch container mall, eco mall, container shopping mall, pop up mall, Boxpark lawsuit,

Christchurch has lost a lot of it infrastructure, in addition to 166 lives lost in the February 22nd earthquake. The town was looking for novel designs to help the city bounce back, similar to that of Shigura Ban’s Cardboard Cathedral. The shipping container mall is one of the most striking features of the cities renewal. Most of the stores are locally owned and have been a part of the community for years. The development took only months to put together, but still has a level of thoughtful design, as well as bright open spaces with interesting gathering areas to linger on a warm spring weekend. The Mall is expected to stay intact for a least a year until the downtown pedestrian mall areas can be restored.

As reported on Treehungger the developers of the London based Boxpark mall are not too happy about this “pop–up” mall and feel that their idea has been stolen. They are seeking a legal action for the “blatant breach of the Boxpark intellectual property rights.”

Its hard not to think that the Boxpark developer who is touting the “world’s first pop up mall” is barking up the wrong tree. We have seen many retail spaces in shipping containers, like the Puma City Store, the Brooklyn Shipping Container Market, and this Sao Paolo Furniture store, to name just a few. To make a stink about a community who went through such a tragedy seems foolish and does not serve the architecture and development profession well.