Unusual Uses for Shipping Containers

Clearly the main use for shipping containers is to transport items across the world’s oceans – no surprise there then but did you know that there is also a wide range of other uses for them? And not just simply as a cheap storage unit for a school or business; that’s a common use we are all familiar with. Here are some of the things that shipping containers have been used for that you might not have thought of:


  1. A hotel – Yes really! I’ve seen a small sports facility made from them but a full blown hotel? But there is a Hong Kong hotel that has been designed using shipping containers but more than that, containers can be added as needed using this radical new design. The Hive Inn, in Hong Kong will, therefore, be flexible in size. As an added twist businesses can also advertise on each of the containers so the owners could be set to receive huge advertising income in addition to income from visitors. With such a unique design I’m sure there will be no shortage of those on the buzzing metropolis.
  2. An art studio – This is not quite such an unusual idea as people rarely sleep in art studios (although it did happen once with an art installation in London’s Serpentine Gallery). There have been many art studios made from shipping containers – a cost-effective solution for often struggling artists. A famous example is in New York where an art studio was designed by MB Architecture. It is a two-story art studio set in a wooded environment so far from a shipping container’s natural habitat. And the white painted double storey interior is also a far cry from what you would normally expect in a shipping container. But this is such a successful re-use you have to wonder why we don’t make more use of old shipping containers.
  3. A restaurant – again not quite so uncommon as you might imagine, especially with the craze for pop up restaurants. Containers are relatively easy to convert, take no time at all to erect as there are pre-fabricated and ca even have full height windows inserted into them. The only thing that does need to be considered, depending on location is the insulation. In cold climates they need to be very well-insulated to keep the interior warm but eaully they need to be kept cool in warm climates so this is an important factor if you are already planning your shipping container building.
  4. A swimming pool – For something really different a New Orleans based architect has actually used one to create a swimming pool (now that is a use close to it’s original use). Shipping containers are more than large enough to create an impressive swimming pool – typical sizes are 2.5 meters high so that makes a good deep pool and lengths are around 6 metres – so again not bad for a personal swimming pool. I just wonder how cost-effective and long-lasting that would be, even when painted with anti-rust paint.