Alternative and innovative uses of shipping containers

Alternative and innovative uses of shipping containers

You might think of a shipping container and wonder how anyone could turn it into something more than a metal box. Well, there are plenty of creative people out there who like to think outside the box (pun intended). From accommodation to answering the country’s housing crisis, there is a lot that containers can be used for. All you need is a little imagination. Here are our favourite alternative uses for shipping containers that we are seeing more and more of across the globe.

Taking a splash

There is something about the annual August heatwave (a.k.a the British summer) that makes you want to take a plunge. But while inflatable paddling pools are great for a day, they often don’t last very long. Soon enough, someone will get a bit too confident, overreach and fall over the side, and your whole garden will be flooded. But there is a more concrete (or should we say metal) alternative. Believe it or not, you can actually have a swimming pool in your back garden, made from shipping containers. There is no digging or building needed, all you need to do is simply drop the specially altered container into place. You can even add heating, glass walls and jacuzzi jets. Because of their strength and sturdiness, shipping containers can easily hold enough gallons of water to make a substantial back garden pool, with no risk of overflooding. Talk about an upgrade from the flimsy paddling pool!

Innovative housing

There is no shortage of ideas on how cargo containers can be redesigned. One of the most common, large-scale modifications is to turn used containers into the primary material for construction. From student accommodation to housing for the homeless, steel churches to football stadiums. Shipping containers provide fast and cost-effective solutions to the need for building. Each metal pod can be used as an individual, self-contained unit or flat, stacked on top of each other to quickly construct large scale housing. As containers are sturdy, strong and adaptable, they make the perfect foundation for creating ingenious spaces. Not to mention that you can be as out there as you want with the design, as there is lots of room for adding a personal touch or unusual style.

More than just a shed

Once upon a time, the humble British shed was simply a storeroom for your garden tools and odd ends. Today, sheds are being used as anything from sophisticated man caves to a garden sanctuary. Obviously, with this new generation of sheds comes the need for more weather-tight and durable construction than the time-honoured predecessors. Enter the shipping container. Able to battle all of the elements of British weather, a container is the perfect substitute to a traditional wooden shed. Able to be adapted to suit your particular needs, a container can be installed with windows, heating, eye-catching interiors and even a sound system. So if you’re looking to create your own hideaway, yoga studio or playhouse, consider using a container to vamp up your shed style.

Container restaurants

Everyone loves food. Especially when we don’t have to make it ourselves. Shipping containers are making eating out that bit more interesting by bringing amazing food to those who want it.  Redesigned as pop-up stalls and container restaurants, shipping containers are becoming the new face of eateries. From food shacks like Riley’s Fish Shack in Tynemouth and Wahaca Mexican restaurant in London’s Southbank, to container markets like Brisbane’s Eat Street and Toronto’s Market 707, containers are quickly becoming the new type of restaurant design. Versatile and adaptable, eateries can bring their personal style and creativity to turn these steel boxes into a cool and imaginative foodie haven.

Open Theatres

If shipping containers can make it in the theatre, they can make it anywhere. That is, being used to make theatres. That’s right, shipping containers have even been used to make theatres. And why not? After all, containers are perfect for events, as they can be customised to fit the occasion – from bars and ticket booths to the building blocks for large-scale entertainment venues, whatever the event, containers can help.

Take the Platoon Kunsthalle in South Korea for example. Made using 28 shipping containers, this open theatre even had inbuilt bathrooms and offices. Similarly, in Russia containers were used to construct cinema theatres across the country, bringing the big screen to some of its furthest corners. This cinematic ingenuity was capable because of how easy it is to transport shipping containers across large distances. Not to mention their endless modification potentials.

A new kind of farm

The world’s population is growing at an alarming rate, and all those people are going to need feeding. Luckily, shipping containers are helping to provide a solution as potential homes for hydroponic farms. Container farms such as the ones created by Local Roots and Growcer are capable of growing 5 acres worth of food within small, compact spaces. Read more on how shipping container farms are being used to help answer food shortages here.

Budding businesses

Similar to pop-up food shacks, shipping containers can also be given a new lease of life by being turned into the HQ’s for growing businesses. Startups and grass-roots companies all need somewhere to call their own. When you are still starting out or need an office space that is both practical and inexpensive, containers may be the answer. From music studios like Spark1 Studios to the start-up village Pop Bixton. These convertible metal boxes are being transformed into innovative studio offices and workshops, providing small businesses and craftsmen with their own professional space.

It’s amazing how containers can be transformed into something new and exciting with a little bit of ingenuity. Feeling inspired to start your own shipping container project? Get in touch today to start planning your own container modification journey.

12.03.2019
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