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What is Shipping Container Architecture?

 , updated on July 21, 2016
Shipping container architecture is the use of steel intermodal containers as an element of buildings and other structures. Shipping containers are reasonably cheap, ubiquitous, strong and stackable. They are also standard sizes that allow for sharing of designs. In some cases, shipping containers are used to build temporary structures such as exhibition sites. They are also commonly used to build permanent structures small and large. They have appeal as a sustainable building element because, purchased secondhand, they are a form of upcycling.
Overview: Shipping Container Architecture
TypeSustainable Architecture
Architectural Elements
DefinitionThe use of steel intermodal containers as an architectural element.
Standard size for design sharing
Easy to transport
Widely available
DisadvantagesMetal conducts heat
Fixed size, lack of design flexibility
Not breathable, e.g. humidity collects on walls
Container roofs aren't as strong as you might expect. They are very strong at endpoints used for stacking but not in the middle of the roof.
Containers may have been treated with chemicals or exposed to spills.
Related ConceptsTruth To Materials
Architectural Elements


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