The Versatility of the Shipping Container!

This year’s BBC Apprentice showcased the shipping container pop up mall in Shoreditch, which got us here at Recipro thinking what else is achievable with shipping containers, aside from a retail experience with a difference. A quick look through the search engines sheds some light on some great examples where old shipping containers have become wonderful and versatile structures. We even found out there was a word for it: “Cargotecture”.

Millions of shipping containers sit unused in ports across the world simply waiting to be given a new lease of life. Below are some great examples of “Cargotecture” that I am sure you will agree appear more than the sum of their parts and represents some fantastic green building ideas.

So how about living in one… well the University of Amsterdam launched the largest shipping container village in the world known as the Keetwonen Dorm. They offer temporary accommodation for students and have become one of the most popular student housing options in Amsterdam. Each container manages to accommodate a kitchenette, separate sleep and study areas and a powder room.

You can also get a coffee in one…Starbucks used four reused shipping containers to develop a 448 square foot café in the Seattle suburbs. The centre offers drive and walk through facilities for its customers and has as much space as a typical Starbucks outlet.

Fancy something to eat? Les Grandes Tables in Paris is a temporary restaurant made from salvaged shipping containers and scaffolding. The restaurant offers a relaxed atmosphere and patrons can benefit from fresh produce from its own greenhouse and garden which is encompassed within the building.

And finally, how about a bit of culture… in Berlin 34 shipping containers have been used to build a cultural centre for arts and exhibitions. Quite amazingly the venue can be re-arranged by giant crane to fit the various events and exhibitions held at the centre.

We love hearing about green construction stories and would be delighted to hear anything that has fascinated you from the world of green building.


  1. Shipping Containers says:

    If you look closely while driving out and about, you’ll discover Shipping containers just about everywhere. Following long travels on the sea, you’ll observe containers in the final distribution channels. When you get stopped at the train crossing, you’re very likely to see train car after train car filled with containers, or you’ll observe commercial transport trucks carrying them around on carriages and flat beds full of goods of every type. Once shipping containers are retired from use overseas service, you’ll see them behind retail stores and on building sites supplying secure storage for equipment and inventory doing duty as storage containers.

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