10 Structures You Can Build From Shipping Containers

Shipping containers are the LEGOs of an architect. Here are the things architects and designers create with these steel boxes:
10 Structures You Can Build From Shipping Containers | Cargotecture

Once in their life, shipping containers carry important cargo from one continent to another, sitting inside huge ships that cross oceans for months. These steel boxes are so tough and weather-resistant that in the 80s, people believe they can turn shipping containers into a habitable place. And they did. In recent years, there is a surge in the use of shipping containers in construction. Modern architects and designers call it cargotecture. Here are the most interesting ways these design professionals reuse shipping containers:

Tiny houses

The strength and size of shipping containers make it perfect skeleton of a tiny home. Use it to build your holiday home in the suburbs or a second residence on your backyard.

Camping cabin

Shipping containers make a good camping pod for couples who decided to travel cross country and live off the grid. Renovate it and pack all of home’s comforts inside it. Make sure that your pod is as relaxing as a hotel room.

Food truck

Shipping containers are fit for travel. The building envelope is weatherproof. Renovate it and use it as your very own travelling food truck or pop-up restaurant. It is a great idea for home cooks out there who want the world to taste their food.

Bar and restaurant

While food trucks can travel from the CBD to a state fair, bars and restaurant are stationary. If you have a good commercial space to spare and good food to share, build a restaurant and bar. Use shipping containers. It will get you free media attention that can help you jumpstart your business for free.


Renovated shipping containers are perfect for businesses that need a large warehouse and a pop-up boutique/store in front. The shipping containers protect all stocks dry, protected, and secured.

Swimming pool

This one is popular in the country nowadays. The measurements of a single shipping container are perfect for above ground or inground pool. You can swim laps and submerge yourself underwater. Also, shipping containers are watertight. It can hold thousands of gallons of water without leaking (if you bought a quality shipping container).


Shipping containers have great insulating properties. Fit it with all the finishes and equipment needed to build a sauna. You can add it to your current home or build it as your business.

Music room

The metal walls of shipping containers provide excellent acoustics. Use it to extend your home and renovate the interiors to make your private music room. Make it the best place to practice playing musical instruments (or any music you’re into).

Recording studio

Quite similar to a music room, except that it has more electronics that you use to record your music. Exert extra effort to soundproof the walls so no unwanted noise can interrupt your craft.


Fitness enthusiasts can build public and private gyms using cargo containers. If you’re interested in your own home gym, consider renovating the shipping container in your backyard. If you want to run your own fitness gym business, consider connecting a couple of shipping containers until you have enough space to fit all your equipment. Building with shipping containers costs lower and the sturdy building envelope ensures that everything within the walls is secured. We hope you liked our ideas about modified shipping containers. Understand that this isn’t an easy DIY project for everyone. Most people will need assistance to make sure the structure is properly insulated and ergonomically designed. Every cargotecture project offers a unique set of challenges and having a design professional in your team will help you surpass each one.

Liked this article? Follow us on FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn.

Contact our Adelaide-based building designers for more info.



50 Businesses That You Can Start After Refurbishing Shipping Containers

How to Naturally Heat Your Shipping Container Home

Start planning for free

Find more articles, guides and inspiration in the planning dashboard. Save them to your dream board, and start planning your dream space today.

You may also like

Join our design community

Forgot your username or password?

Download our '5 crucial things you must know before starting any build project' guide for free today

Simply fill in your details below and we’ll send a copy straight over to you

See how much you could save with a free, no-obligation quote today

Simply fill in your details below and we’ll be in touch to discuss your project

  • Drop files here or

Download The Free Guide Now

Fill in the below to get instant access: