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Unusual Ways Containers Have Been Used

Thanks to the ever-increasing popularity of shipping container conversions, coming across a building that has been constructed with one or several of these metal boxes isn’t really something worth writing home about nowadays. However, there are shipping container modifications that stand out due to the unusual purpose they serve or their unorthodox architecture.

Here is our list of the 7 most unusual ways shipping containers have been put into use around the world:


Unusual uses for containers

A centre for both mind and body, this unusual structure made with eight recycled containers branching out from a central built core in rural Indonesia houses both a library and clinic. The library offers over 6,000 books for both children and adults while the clinic provides free medical services to the local community. The project’s aim was to reduce the social gap among the residents of the small agricultural town it serves through health and education inclusion.

Unusual uses for containers

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Shipping Container Shopping Centre

What happens when you take a single container store conversion and multiply it by 27? Well, if you are South African mall developer 27 Boxes, you get a container shopping centre. The project which features containers stacked to make a three-storey complex is modelled on other similar projects in Christchurch, Paris and London.


The brainchild of Caster Design – a Canadian firm, the ‘Sauna Box’ is designed to provide a luxurious Sauna experience in any location with minimum site preparation. Built-in a custom-sized 8ft sea container, the sauna features a redwood cedar interior and has a built-in wood-fired stove for steam generation. It also has solar panels installed for powering electronics for lights and music.

Shipping Container Sauna


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Designed for disaster relief and remote location use, the Off-Grid Box enables people to access critical resources including water, communication (through cellular and Wi-Fi) and electricity. To enable it to do this, the modified shipping container is fitted with water purification apparatus, solar panels, wind turbines, and cellular communication and networking equipment. All in a relatively easy to transport package.

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Shipping Container StarbucksWhile the Starbucks restaurant chain is pretty common around the world, the way they decided to go about setting up this particular branch in Washington is what’s unusual. Named the ‘Reclamation Drive Thru’, this coffee shop is made using four used containers and is designed to comply with LEED standards for green building. This prototype could result in more sustainable Starbucks outlets worldwide.

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Shipping Container Swimming Pool

Want a pool in your home but lack the money and space to have one installed? No problem, an Australian innovator has created the perfect solution that costs less than half the price of an ordinary in-ground swimming pool; a shipping container pool! The interior of the container pool is inlayed with fibreglass complete with steps for practicality and comfort while the filtration system is inbuilt for maximum compactness.

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Shipping Container Performance/Recording Studio(Image source:

They say music is the elixir of life, but have you ever wondered how they turn it from sounds on music instruments to an MP3 file you can play on your phone? If you have, you’re not alone. To give audiences a glimpse into the music-making process while giving upcoming artists a chance to professionally record their music, Dynaudio created the ‘Unheard’ recording studio. This pop-up studio is built from two shipping containers with their front walls glazed to allow audiences to see and experience the music-making process.

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