The stackable nature of shipping containers allows them to be used, among other things, to build homes in very small spots. One area where this comes in very helpful is in cities where available space is scarce. Given the housing crisis in cities across the globe, shipping container homes are a great way to offer affordable housing. Read on for a few creative examples of shipping containers used to build homes in NYC.

Brooklyn Family Home


This home was built out of 21 recycled shipping containers and it is located in Williamsburg, a rapidly developing area of Brooklyn, NY. The home measures 5,000 square feet and is located on a lot measuring only 25 by 100 feet. This is basically a typical corner lot in Brooklyn and many like it are still vacant. To create such a large home with such a small footprint, the shipping containers were cut diagonally and stacked one on top of another. This resulted in a three-story residence, with a cellar and garage. Each of the levels also features a large outdoor deck, achieved via the diagonal cut. The home was designed by the architecture firm LOT-EK.

The Boyle Family Shipping Container Home


This home is also located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and holds the title of being the first shipping container home in NYC. It was constructed using three used shipping containers and stands on a tiny, 20 by 40-foot lot. The total area of the home is 1,600 square feet, and the owners achieved this by stacking the containers one atop another then connecting them with a staircase. Originally, the owners wanted to build a tiny home, but decided to use shipping containers after realizing their original plan would cost about $500,000 to realize. The shipping containers cost only $1500 each, but they did run into all sorts of bureaucratic problems before they finally obtained a final certificate of occupancy in early 2013.

Shipping Container Penthouse


This architectural solution was also designed by the firm LOT-EK. They transformed a former mechanical room into a 1500 square foot penthouse, adding additional space with a 20-foot shipping container. The shipping container was used to house the main bedroom and a patio with a great view of the Empire State Building. The mechanical room, on the other hand, houses the main living area of the home, which consists of a living room, kitchen and a children’s bedroom. One of the ends of the shipping containers was removed to create a large glass door that opens onto the patio. To further save space, the bed can be rolled out of the way to create a lounging area in the bedroom at need. The architects left the outside walls of the shipping container in its original state to retain the industrial look of the structure, though the container is very well insulated to keep the interior cozy during the harsh NYC winter.