Tiger shipping containers 01
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

shipping container blog

You are currently viewing Cargotecture Containers Explained

Cargotecture Containers Explained

Ever heard of ‘cargotecture’? Read this article and learn about the endless modifications that can be made to regular shipping containers.

Today’s buildings need to be innovative, using materials that are being repurposed.  It is a simple fact that there are millions of shipping containers around the world that are sitting unused and can be utilised for building…

Cargotecture is the use of shipping containers for creating fully functional buildings whether they are for a business or for a home.  There are a wide range of projects that can be built, from low cost housing to vacation homes.  The best part of these container conversions is that they are utilising containers that would otherwise not be used for much else.

The term Cargotecture was coined in 2003 and it is used to describe a building that is either partially or fully constructed using recycled ISO shipping containers.  This is a great way to utilise thousands of containers that would otherwise be sent for scrap.  These containers can be relocated, are secure and versatile and can be extremely useful in situations where buildings are needed quickly because the basic structure is already in existence.  The container can be placed in a location and then the interior can be modified, with the electrical wiring and plumbing being outfitted afterwards.

Cargotecture is also the art of taking one or more shipping containers and creating a design, complete with windows and doors cut out, that will accommodate the needs of the occupant.  Many people love the fact that building with shipping containers allows them the opportunity to enter into an expensive housing market that they would never have otherwise been able to enter.  This is an exciting opportunity to take a basic box, much like an empty canvas and develop it into something that can become a way for people to own their own home in a fraction of the time, and at a fraction of the cost.

Some local governments are unsure about how to treat these containers but one thing is for certain, these shipping container buildings have filled a certain void in parts of the world where there are limited amounts of very expensive buildings supplies, and very small lots on which to build houses.  Containers can be stacked one on top of the other and they can be configured so that small areas can be utilised to their fullest potential.

Rather than disposing of shipping containers, they are now being utilised which is a great way to reduce waste.

Cargotecture is something that is fairly new and is here to stay!

Customise your shipping container with Tiger >


3 reasons why cargotecture is on the rise

There are many situations where a shipping container home is just the best option for temporary living.

For instance, if your house is being renovated, it makes sense to use a shipping container home so you can have somewhere to sleep and live while your house is full of dust and construction workers.

But there’s more to shipping container homes than just temporary solutions. Shipping container architecture is a trend that’s been picking up speed in recent years, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop.

These shipping container houses are more than just temporary places to sleep. They’re fully equipped homes for couples and families to live in for the rest of their lives.

You may have seen this around: entire homes custom-built using multiple adapted shipping containers. Maybe you drive past one every day on your way to work without even knowing.


1.       Shipping containers are affordable – It only takes five shipping containers to create a spacious home – even less, if you use your space wisely. In fact, it’s possible to get a complete shipping container home for under $600 per square metre. The price for a standard home is usually about $1200 per square metre.

2.       They are recycled – It’s generally too expensive for a dock to ship the containers back to the country of origin, which means there are a lot of shipping containers lying around with nowhere to go. By making a home from these containers, you’re using up a whole bunch of previously unusable resources. No need to cut down more trees to put a roof over your head.

3.       Shipping container architecture can be set up quickly – Once your shipping container home is designed and the containers are modified, it only takes a few days to take them to the desired location and put them all together. That means in only a few days, you can be making toast in the brand new kitchen of your brand new home.

No messing about with weeks of construction. All the major work is done off-site so they’re ready to be assembled on delivery.

A shipping container home isn’t for everyone, and there are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration, like building regulations and temperature control. But if you want a contemporary home that’s affordable and uses resources that are already available, it’s a good option to consider.

Looking around these days, it might seem as if shipping containers are being used more for architecture than they are for actual shipping. While that might not be a very accurate observation, it is true that container architecture has grown in popularity over the last few years – mainly due to the “green wave” currently sweeping across the world.

The fact that increased global trade in the last two decades has made sea containers widely available at low prices has also contributed to the popularisation of this kind of construction.

Although a lot of people choose to build with cargo containers because of the exceptional value for money they offer, there are several more benefits – and a few disadvantages – of a building using these metal boxes.

Interested in a shipping container home? Ask us >



1.       Cost. Cargo container structures are significantly cheaper to make as compared to similarly sized structures made with traditional materials – this is a major draw factor. A used shipping container can go for as low as $1200 making them quite easy to acquire. Furthermore, because all the structural work associated with building the structure is eliminated, someone can construct their own building as a DIY project making it even more affordable.

2.       Eco-friendliness. Because it’s cheaper to buy a new shipping container rather than relocate an old one for re-use, old shipping containers are piling up in yards around the globe. Reusing them saves the energy that would be used for melting them for reuse and also creates a smaller environmental footprint as compared to conventional building materials such as cement, wood, and brick.

3.       Ease and speed of construction. Building using containers is so easy that a person can do it by themselves. Building something is as easy as assembling several modules to create the final piece. Modules can be modified offsite before being assembled on site. The time taken to finish a project is also reduced significantly to just a few days.

4.       Off-site construction. Shipping containers are very convenient for plots that are not suitable to build on for whatever reason since the structure can be built in a workshop and delivered to the site ready to move in to. This is especially beneficial for remote areas where building materials and labour might not be readily available.

5.       Structural soundness. Shipping containers are very rugged and are designed to withstand the rough conditions of sea and land transport. Their robustness makes them ideal for constructing buildings that are hurricane and earthquake proof. This makes them the perfect solution for building in disaster-prone areas.


Even with all these benefits, shipping container architecture also has some few drawbacks. These include:

1.       Building permits. Although quite a number of local governments are embracing this new-age method of construction, it’s still difficult to get a permit to build this kind of buildings in a lot of places. Steel structures are currently accepted for industrial construction, but it’s still quite an uncommon material in everyday construction. For this reason, if you are looking to building a container structure, be sure to check with your local authorities first before you make the plunge and commit your finances. This is however bound to change as more people embrace and understand this method of construction.

2.       Internal temperature control. Because they are essentially metal boxes, shipping containers are very poor at internal temperature regulation. This can often be solved by installing the proper type of insulation and paint, though this could also lead to the use of non-environmentally friendly solutions such as ACs. Insulation will also eat up some of the already limited space inside the container.

3.       Health hazards. Shipping containers are not designed for human habitation, so sometimes substances harmful to humans might be used in their manufacture. These include solvents, paints and insulation materials. The containers might also have been used to transport toxic or radioactive materials whose traces might remain after they are retired. Do some research on the components used to construct the container and the cargo it transported before buying it for construction.

Although shipping container architecture has a few cons, they are easy to solve and are by far outweighed by the benefits, which makes the container an ideal inexpensive construction material. Shipping container architecture is on the rise and will continue on this trajectory as more people discover its advantages.

Need a quote for a shipping container home?  Click here

Great example of shipping container architecture

Michael Hockam recently visited with Gary Deirmendjian last week. Gary has created an exceptional piece from a shipping container! Shipping Container Art showcases the versatile use of shipping containers.


We’ll let Gary describe it:

“A 20ft long shipping container is presented as monolithic architecture in steel. It stands dynamically poised in the landscape. The structure is supported underground in its skewed stance, with one foundation corner pressed into the earth, while the other three remain raised.

A narrow passage cut through its shell allows entry into a dark inner space, lit naturally from above due to one container door held partially open. The space is intimate, and in the darkness, the eye is immediately drawn upwards towards the light. Juxtaposed against this light and the increasingly apparent network of inner lines, lies a wooden pallet horizontally suspended – out of reach. There is a strong sense of vertigo…

The container and pallet are both actual and used readymades, that are strategically combined and poised to activate the work conceptually.

Having functioned as one, and for some time, the container now rests in a state of stable decay with a unique patina imbued with an arrived at character. Its scars and failings are a testament to this.

fallen temple postulates an abandonment scenario. This regarding the evermore intense and broad efforts aimed at creating appetite for the consumption of stuff. Stuff produced in quantities well beyond any real need and at a cost far beyond the accountable. Some question the sustainability of the widespread and increasingly blatant attitude in distilling any central justification down to purely economic factors.

The work suggests an abandoned house of worship that appears to have long ceased to deliver the very faith that brought it into being. Its shell is dilapidated and its altar hangs bare.“


Need a quote for a shipping container home?  Click here


We recently sold a container to Brode at Black Book Ink, a Sydney based Mural and Design company. Well, after they had finished applying their superb services the results were stunning as you can see.

We recently sold a container to Brode at Black Book Ink (www.blackbookink.com.au), a Sydney based Mural and Design company. Well, after they had finished applying their superb services the results were stunning as you can see. This is yet another example of how shipping containers can be used.

Check out their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/blackbookinkmurals

shipping container murals

shipping container murals

Trending Container BlogS

Leave a Reply