Another shipping container home design worth noting is Caterpillar House (or Casa Oruga in Spanish), which is located in the hills just outside of Santiago, Chile. This home was designed by architect Sebastián Irarrázaval from Chile and it was constructed using 12 recycled shipping containers. Among other sustainable features, the one that stands out the most is the use of passive cooling, which replaces classic, energy-gobbling air-conditioning.


The architects opted to use shipping containers as the primary building blocks mainly because this would speed up construction time, while keeping the building costs low. The Caterpillar House is a two-story home, which measures 3,800 square feet and it is made from five 40-foot, six 20-foot shipping containers, as well as one more which serves as the swimming pool.

The owner wanted Caterpillar House to blend into its surroundings as much as possible, and the architects adhered to this wish by designing some sections of the house so it slopes along with the hillside. Because of this, the house has quite a unique interior layout, as well as an interesting shape. For example, the kids’ rooms come with an inclined nook, where the beds are located. To maximized natural daylighting, most of the shipping containers also have a large number of windows, and skylights cut into them. The swimming pool was made by simply cutting off the top part of the shipping container.



To enable passive cooling of the home, the house was positioned in a way that makes full use of the cool natural air coming down from the Andes mountains, which then passes through windows, doors, and a ventilated façade and eliminates the need for an AC unit.

The home could probably come with a whole score of other sustainable features as well, ones focused on water efficiency, reduced energy consumption and perhaps even solar energy collection. However, the upcycling of 12 used shipping container units goes a long way too.