Home In a Box: Modular Container Housing

Toronto, July 23, 2012 – Be it due to their durable modular construction, transportability and affordability, shipping containers are finding a second life – as your new home.

Architects charged with designing mobile yet appealing living solutions for workers in the mining and resource sectors have turned steel shipping containers into affordable living solutions. Aiming to take a slice out of the multibillion-dollar housing sector, companies such as Big Steel Box and Conglobal Industries firmly believe that just because you’re working in the resource sector and living away from family, it doesn’t mean that you have to skimp on comfort or style.

Big Steel Box

Photo: Big Steel Box

You don’t have to scroll through many examples of their repurposed containers to see they’re working hard to erase the less than favourable stigma we attach to shipping containers. Not only affordable at roughly $2,400 for a 20-foot container, this new found sustainable housing solution for public and private sectors alike is proving to be quite stylish. Granite countertops, chrome fixtures, even touchscreen controlled audio-visual entertainment systems can be found in these repurposed modular homes.

It’s a trend not limited to mobile living either. Residential architects, homeowners and artists are using this unexpected inspiration to create innovative and inspiring living spaces. Containers are finding a second life as stand alone housing, studio spaces for artists, room additions or even backyard forts for kids.

A surprisingly attractive yet practical housing alternative, repurposed containers are proving to be more than a passing trend. Given the state of today’s economy and the soaring housing market, I’m certainly interested to see just how ubiquitous container architecture will become. Could you ever see yourself incorporating one into a future home or workspace?


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Kate Smalley

Kate Smalley

Design contributor Kate Smalley is an International Business and Economics student at Montreal’s McGill University who has also studied and lived in London, UK. Her love of textiles and design started early, teaching herself to knit, crochet and sew. Inspired by her travels, she gravitates towards innovative and sustainable design– whether it be a coffee table or a jacket lapel.

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