Shipping Container Homes
The Best Builders to Check Out
From the first shipping container house in the Hamptons to a pop-up cargotecture bar, these North American container firms' unique projects demonstrate the power of adaptive reuse.
An industrial cargo container does not evoke images of a home at first glance. The modest steel container, however, may be converted into an eco-friendly home, a vibrant pop-up store, or even a large marketplace in the hands of a clever architect with an eye for repurposing. Cargotecture isn't always less expensive than typical site-built structures, but the power of prefab means that these repurposed constructions may be constructed swiftly and effectively.
The award-winning architecture firm LOT-EK is known for turning shipping containers into unique structures. The design studio, which has offices in New York and Naples, has built a wide range of cargotecture projects, ranging from colorful works created in partnership with important cultural organizations (such as MoMA and the Guggenheim) to commercial structures and upmarket houses.
SG Blocks, based in Brooklyn, has created and delivered container-based structures in collaboration with architects, developers, builders, retailers, and even the military. Their projects span from the Hamptons' first eco-friendly container home to a seasonal cocktail bar in Battery Park in Manhattan. In 2017, SG Blocks became the first provider to get an ESR number from the ICC, which speeds up approval procedures for their marine-grade containers.
Honomobo is a Canadian company that specializes in energy-efficient modular homes. The H-Series of plug-and-play shipping container homes are made of repurposed containers insulated with polyurethane cell foam. Their homes range in size from a 534-square-foot one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment to a 1,530-square-foot three-bedroom, two-bathroom family house constructed from five 40-foot containers. All Honomobo homes are also photovoltaic-ready, allowing homeowners to reach "net zero."
Giant Containers, established in Toronto, has created offices in Miami, Brooklyn, and Los Angeles to serve clients south of the border, where the company does an estimated third of its business. The company designs contemporary shipping container residences ranging in size from small bachelor pads to huge family homes, as well as working with businesses to design stores, offices, exhibition spaces, and more.
Tomecek Studio, situated in Denver, has a portfolio that includes modular buildings, panelized construction, and cargotecture cabins, all of which are prefabricated. Their site-specific shipping container projects are entirely custom-built and purposely designed to highlight, rather than conceal, the construction material's industrial roots.