Over the past years, architects have given a new function to shipping containers by using them to build groundbreaking constructions. Here are the four prototypes that left us speechless.


Shipping containers currently account for over 90 percent of the world trade, and around 17 millions of them are circulating worldwide. Whereas an average shipping container is travelling around 80 times around the world and covers millions of kilometers, it can only do so for only roughly 20 years. What happens then? Well, thanks to their transportability, low price as well as solidity, many shipping containers have recently been recycled for many more purposes. Whether it is for cheap accommodations , pop-up stores, art or even movie theaters , many shipping containers have been granted the chance to obtain a second life. Some architects have even gone further than this, unveiling some breathtaking and innovative towers made out of these containers. This article will introduce you to four of our favorites.

Lotto Turm


German designer Lars Behrendt has found a potentially great use for the Oesterreichischer Platz roundabout in the center of Stuttgart, Germany. There a refreshing and colorful tower made out of 55 shipping containers stacked on top of each other could be placed. Why the name “Lotto Turm”? The idea is that a sphere will be placed at the top of the building in order to reveal… The city’s winning lotto numbers! Apart from that, the tower could be used for both office space and residences, whereas one of the shipping containers would be kept to design a one-of-a-kind swimming pool.



Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh has commissioned Matthew Rosenberg of M-Rad Studio to develop his Downtown Project in Las Vegas. The idea here is to develop a structure that includes both residential areas and the world of works, either in one or two separate towers. These two spheres are clearly separated by communal spaces, such as grocery stores or coffee houses. Then, one may wonder what the real advantage of shipping containers for this project is. According to Rosenberg, shipping containers may actually not be the most efficient way to build such a structure, but has the advantage to be already designed and therefore allows his team to focus on other important aspects of the projects. Therefore, even if this concepts sees the day of the light in the future – which is far from guaranteed –  shipping containers may be replaced by a more traditional structure. No matter what, the design of the Inter-Act is stunning.

Hive-inn concept


Contrarily to the previous project, Hong Kong-based OVA Studio has included shipping containers in its Hive-inn concept for a clear reason: its solidity and transportability. The idea here has been to create a tower of containers which are stabilized by central metal frames. According to changing needs of space, containers could be added or removed from the structure. Such an innovative idea could particularly be useful for emergency housing after disasters, or for hotels whose customer-base is seasonal.



Instead of unveiling a common tower out of shipping containers, the CRG Architects group went one step further this year, by providing us with an insane vision of two twisting skyscrapers built out of 2,400 containers. The higher structure would reach 400 meters, and the whole construction could serve as a temporary home to over 5,000 people. This concept has been unveiled in a contest aiming at finding innovative solutions providing temporary homes to people in needs. The rationale behind using containers for a large construction is that such structures are cheap, already available in the area and quick to build in. Besides that, building vertically would enable the inhabitants to benefit from higher air quality than in slums. Nevertheless, even though the idea is revolutionary, the use of shipping containers has received mixed reception. Indeed making these boxes decent to live in would be a tedious tasks, as ventilation and sanitary systems will need to be installed. Moreover, it has also been claimed that the cost of building such skyscrapers may actually be higher than with traditional methods.

Shipping containers and many other metal products can be found at Shanghai Metal Corporation, one of the leading businesses in the manufacturing of metal products in the global field.

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