Shipping containers lend themselves to many architectural uses, and building office space out of them is perhaps the oldest of them all. The Japanese architectural firm led by Tomokazu Hayakawa recently completed the construction of a two story office built out of two used shipping containers. The structure is called CC4441, a name which nicely encompasses its futuristic and industrial form.

The office space is located in the corner spot of a small alley in Torigoe, Tokyo, and the two standard-sized repurposed 40-foot shipping containers, out of which it was constructed, appear at first glance to have been carelessly placed one on top of the other. But closer inspection reveals that this is actually an ultra modern office building with gallery space stretching over the 394 square foot internal area.


To maximize the amount of useful space, the container that forms the base of the building was cut into two parts. These were then placed perpendicular to each other, which led to the formation of two small rooms, which face towards each other. In the center, this layout also yielded an exterior courtyard. The second container was placed on top of the two smaller rooms and can be accessed via an exterior staircase.



The office features a large hatched door, which opens onto the street, and lets in plenty of natural daylight. The exterior of the containers was painted with a black paint, while the interior walls were paneled with timber framing. The latter was necessary to meet the local building codes, and makes the office building earthquake-proof. The interior walls were also painted white, to make the office and gallery appear lighter and more spacious.


All told, the construction of this unique shipping container office space took two months and a half to finish and cost the equivalent of $127,000.