A shipping container is the main thing used for the transportation of goods around the world. They are basically just huge boxes that can carry large items or a large amount of smaller items in a safe yet practical manner.
They are incredibly useful and a really convenient invention, but the problem comes when you have finished your transportation – what do you do with them next?
Shipping containers are almost always the shape of a big cube and because of this, they have been used for bigger and better projects, such as building houses, creating luxury hotels and even in one case to make a fun playground for kids. The blocks are durable, eco-friendly and most importantly affordable, so in contemporary design, they are most certainly not to be overlooked.
Back in 2008, the world’ first hotel was built using only shipping containers.
The 8 story Travelodge is located in Uxbridge, West London and was created using 88 shipping containers. It was built almost 25% faster than other hotels and also was 10% cheaper than the majority of other hotels.
This is a fantastic development, as shipping containers can quite easily be taken apart again, which leads the way to the potential of temporary hotels and even pop up hotels for large scale events such as festivals and sporting events.
This eco-friendly and affordable method of construction could really be the future.
On the basis of using shipping containers for “pop-up” purposes, another fantastic use for them is retail, or more specifically pop-up shops.
Carlos-Ameen Jureidini-Cully set up a shop in a shipping container in New York, selling refurbished sunglasses and there is now a complex of 60 retailers all using shipping containers!
This is becoming an increasingly popular method for retail space, as they appeal to small business that are not yet able to afford the expensive and traditional retail spaces that bigger brands have.
Shipping containers also work well in retail, as being small individual shops mean that people are more likely to come and check them all out in one go instead of making the effort to individually visit a larger shop.
Recently a micro-brewery was in need of an affordable and durable new beer cellar that it could store its beer in at a very strict temperature of two degrees Celsius.
The brewery had recently received a new dry van container that the company was using for just general storage, and realised that a large insulated container would work perfectly as a cellar.
Once they had finished installing the container and refrigeration machinery, the brewery was left with a visually appealing and environmentally appealing answer to its problem –a fantastic beer cellar made from a shipping container.
In Melbourne, Australia, a fantastic project was instigated using four large shipping containers, with the result being a fantastic new playground. The shipping containers were arranged to create a great new activity centre for children in the area, that provided a strong and safe place where kids could play together.
The whole playground was made using only environmentally friendly material and is a fantastic way to teach kids the importance of recycling and eco-friendly ways. The project also won an “Architecture Review Award for Emerging Architecture” in 2008.
As you can see, there really is a future when it comes to using shipping containers for more than just their original purpose. They are durable and practical when transporting goods around the world, but when that duty is done there are endless ways to make sure they can contribute to the world around us.
Using shipping containers is a fresh and original way to create fun and exciting projects and really take architecture to a whole new level.