Building homes and business headquarters out of recycled shipping containers is awesome, of course, but these cool building blocks lend themselves very well to a wide variety of supplemental uses as well. Below you will find three innovative shipping container architecture solutions that address non-living needs of the occupants. If living in a shipping container does not appeal to you, yet you would still like to use this green construction method, then perhaps the below examples will give you some ideas.

The Sauna Box


The Sauna Box is a completely self-sufficient sauna that is build inside a shipping container-like corten steel box. The sauna gets the needed electricity from solar panels, while the heat comes from a wood burning stove for added sustainability. The well-insulated 96” cube is completely water tight, and it is a custom-built prefab structure made by Castor that can be shipped to anywhere in the world. Inside, it is equipped with stone stools, a stone sink, and custom metal and wood detailing. With the right insulation and equipment any shipping container could be used as a sauna, and it’s surprising that more makers are not using it for such a purpose. more details…

Backyard Shipping Container Office


Using a shipping container for office space is perhaps not innovative in itself, but the way this architect couple chose to do it certainly is. Karl Wanaselja and Cate Leger purchased the 40-foot container (once a refrigerated unit) for only $1800 from the Port of Oakland and proceeded to build the office on their own. First they cut the shipping container in half, then welded it back together in a T shape and placed in their backyard using a crane. The shipping container already came with plastic polyisocyanurate insulation, which has the highest R-value of any foam insulation. By using a T-shaped placement of the office they also managed to give it a more expansive feel, as well as create 2 separate offices to allow each of the owners more privacy as they work. more details…

Mobile Restroom as Self-Sufficient Container


Not long ago, Caltech in collaboration with Kohler Co. developed a mobile restroom, which is equipped with a solar-powered water-treatment system. Due to the self-sufficient technologies used in the design, this restroom can be deployed even in areas without a plumbing infrastructure. The unit that will be deployed in India was painted by Open Door Design Studios using patterns and images that are reminiscent of Indian truck art. The artwork serves the purpose of letting the mobile restroom blend into the environment in which the container toilet will be used, as well as to tell of the significance of water conservation and sustainability. The importance of solar energy was shown through drawings of girls worshiping the sun, oil lamps, brightly colored flowers, birds, and other animals.