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Posted by on Nov 30, 2012 in Ideas/Solutions | 2 comments | Print Print

Container Condo

The first U.S. multi-family condo built of used shipping containers is slated to break ground in Detroit early next year.

Strong, durable and portable, shipping containers stack easily and link together like Legos. About 25 million of these 20-by-40 feet multicolored boxes move through U.S. container ports a year, hauling children’s toys, flat-screen TVs, computers, car parts, sneakers and sweaters.

But so much travel takes its toll, and eventually the containers wear out and are retired. That’s when architects and designers, especially those with a “green” bent, step in to turn these cast-off boxes into student housing in Amsterdam, artists’ studios, emergency shelters, health clinics, office buildings.

Despite an oft-reported glut of unused cargo containers lying idle around U.S. ports and ship yards – estimates have ranged from 700,000 to 2 million – the Intermodal Steel Building Units and Container Homes Association puts the number closer to 12,000, including what’s sold on Craigslist and eBay.

Joel Egan, co-founder of HyBrid Architecture in Seattle, which has built cottages and office buildings from shipping containers for close to a decade and coined the term “cargotecture” to describe this method of construction, warns that although containers can be bought for as little as $2,500, they shouldn’t be seen as a low-cost housing solution.

See more examples here:–abc-news-topstories.html

Hat tip to daytrip for sending this along!


  1. Others have suggested that instead of FEMA trailers containers be stockpiled and used for temp housing. Since the FEMA trailer has to be hooked up anyway, its not to much of a stretch to drive a crane along with the truck. You could furnish the container as a hunting camp, with bunk beds etc so that things do not deteriorate. Add mattresses etc right before shipping to the disaster.


  2. I know George Orwell has been referenced far too many times on the internet for just about everything, but if memory serves, what we are now calling “green housing,” we used to call “the projects.”

    Many new residents will appreciate the folding metal doors over the windows. It not only provides considerable security against passionate drug enforcement exercises, the easy-open windows allow the occupant to easily disperse dime bags without missing pivotal moments on Jerry Springer.



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