Here at Unit Hire, we love container conversions. Giving the humble storage container a new lease of life as a hip bar, a chic boutique or even a family home just goes to show that there’s a lot you can do with a steel box. We’ve already written about our favourite container conversions you can visit in the UK, but that got us thinking – there has to be more out there. It’s time to expand our horizons and highlight the very best in shipping container design. We’ve scoured the world for the coolest, most unique and utterly mind-boggling container architecture out there.
With everything from student accommodation to international football stadiums, shipping container design has reached new heights. Outside of the UK we’ve seen architects breaking the mould and bringing some truly incredible designs to fruition, all with the help of the intermodal container. Hopefully we’ll see more shipping container architecture on this scale coming to the UK very soon. Until then, just admire these amazing international container conversions.
The Quadrum Ski & Yoga Resort is a luxury boutique hotel and retreat nestled in the ski resort of Gudauri in Georgia’s Caucasus Mountains. While the phrases ‘luxury boutique hotel’ and ‘shipping containers’ may appear to be worlds apart, the rooms of the Quadrum resort are made entirely from intermodal containers.
Wood-panelled exteriors and cosy natural interiors really lend a touch of the classic ski lodge to the containers that form the basis of the resort. Plus, every room has panoramic views of the truly dazzling snow-capped mountains that the hotel overlooks. For a true taste of container luxury, guests can enjoy the resort’s ‘deluxe suites’. The suites are made up of two separate containers, three balconies and a jacuzzi. Shipping container architecture doesn’t get much better than that.
The containers at the Quadrum Resort certainly offer up more than enough luxury and apres ski fun to their residents. Plus, the on-site bar and swimming pool add even more to the mountainside container experience.
A long day on the slopes can be tiring. Fortunately, the resort also offers yoga sessions – yoga in a container may be a world first – to help you recuperate.
Beyond all of the luxuries on offer, the resort touts itself as an eco-friendly getaway to the Caucasus. Of course, with repurposed shipping containers making up the bulk of the hotel, guests can sleep comfortably knowing that the entire structure of their residence has been made from durable, upcycled goods. We’ve written about the eco-friendly benefits of building with storage containers before. From the looks of it, Quadrum has nailed the eco-holiday with their storage container resort.
While it’s not complete yet, you’ll almost certainly be seeing a lot of this entry on your screens in the near future. The Ras Abu Aboud Stadium in Doha, the Qatari capital, is due to be complete in 2020 and will be one of the 8 venues used to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Amazingly, the stadium is due to be made up of hundreds of intermodal containers, coming together to create an arena roughly the size of Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge!
The stadium will be constructed from repurposed shipping containers near Doha’s port, taking pride of place at the head of the seafront promenade in the Gulf state’s capital. While there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the upcoming Qatari-hosted World Cup, the constructors of this stadium hope to avoid any negativity thanks to its eco-friendly design. Recycling shipping containers to build the stadium means that the carbon footprint of the building will be reduced dramatically, with container ships able to bring the boxes straight to the port.
The real positive aspect of the construction of the stadium is what its purpose is intended to be after the World Cup. Rather than dominating the landscape of the Doha Corniche for the years following the tournament, the stadium is due to be taken apart. The refurbished shipping containers that once made up the stadium will be repurposed into small cultural and sports centres across the country. These containers will be shipped to areas where they can be used by local communities for a variety of cultural events. It’s also possible that the stadium will actually be rebuilt somewhere else, if the demand is there.
Whatever the arena’s ultimate fate may be, the plans for the Ras Abu Aboud Stadium will exemplify all of the sustainable benefits shipping containers have to offer. Thrusting shipping container design into the international spotlight will surely have a great impact and lead to even more amazing, sustainable architecture in the future.
While it’s far from the size of a football stadium, the Ccasa Hostel in the beach city of Nha Trang on Vietnam’s hostel is a truly unique piece of shipping container design. Tucked away in a plot of land of only 195m², this backpackers’ hostel is certainly a hidden gem. Constructed from a number of brightly coloured containers, the vibrant design of this hostel makes it pop out from the grey apartment blocks surrounding the building.
While the exterior of the hostel sticks out as a beacon of shining innovation in the streets of Nha Trang, it’s the interior that’s the real star of the show. Each of the stacked containers – all connected by aerial bridges – sleeps up to 4 weary travellers. The interior of the hostel is almost like a children’s play area. Vibrant rooms, floating bridges and communal hammocks fill in the gaps between the walkways, meaning that guests are never bored during their stay.
The Ccasa Hostel exemplifies the exciting nature of shipping container design. The hostel is perfect for showing off the ways in which containers can be used as a low-cost and far more exciting alternative to traditional bricks and mortar builds. Welcoming and exciting, anyone heading to Vietnam’s number one beach resort should pay a visit to Ccasa.
The Steel City Container Skyscrapers are a container build proposed by CRG architects and are, without a doubt, the most ambitious container project we’ve ever seen. Preliminary designs put the two container towers at heights of 400m and 200m, constructed of 2,500 intermodal containers between the two of them. With the larger of the towers planned to be over 100m taller than the Shard, it will be a long time before construction of these container monoliths actually take place.
The project may be ambitious, but it’s certainly noble. The towers are intended to be built as residential blocks in what is currently an impoverished area on the outskirts of Mumbai. With overpopulation constantly growing in India, the architects of Steel City designed their towers to hold around 5,000 of the city’s poorest citizens who don’t have access to legitimate housing. The purpose of the containers due to make up the planned towers will vary. One container will be large enough to be turned into an apartment for a couple, while three can be interlinked; providing enough room for a medium-sized family.
While the towers are currently only an idea on paper, they’ve achieved a lot of support from both the public and the local government of Mumbai. Finishing as a runner up in a Mumbai housing competition there’s clearly a lot of people who believe in the project. They’re low cost, durable and easily modified, making them ideal for encouraging development in poorer areas of the world. Don’t be surprised if we start to see container skyscrapers dominating the skylines of developing countries in the near future.
Another architectural project making the most of the low price of container design is Copenhagen’s Urban Rigger project. The brainchild of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, the Urban Rigger is an alternative student accommodation in the expensive Nordic capital. With many Danish university students unable to find affordable accommodation in Copenhagen, Ingels decided to make the most of the city’s countless waterways. The Urban Rigger accommodation was constructed as an alternative to the standard university fare on a floating platform in the Øresund Strait.
The project consists of a group of shipping containers acting as bedrooms and communal areas. Above these, roof terraces are available, one wooden, one grassy, while a third provides an extra boost of power for the project as home to a cluster of solar panels. Along with offering some of the most affordable accommodation to Copenhagen’s students, Urban Rigger also offers some of the most scenic views of the city. Each bedroom has a huge panoramic window looking out onto the waterfront, providing residents with an entirely new view of the city.
Currently, Urban Rigger is only a reality in Copenhagen. However, Ingels has much bigger plans for his project. The Urban Rigger website explains that the designers of the project intend to roll it out in university towns across Europe. The ultimate goal, it seems, is to have them almost everywhere. From the Thames to the Danube, Ingels intends to fill the world’s cities with affordable student accommodation. It’s cheap, unique and sustainable, so it seems as though container homes for students could be coming to a town near you.
If you have a container conversion project that you’re itching to get started with, contact Unit Hire today! Our friendly team are more than happy to help make your storage container dreams a reality.