What can shipping containers be used for

Shipping containers

Shipping containers are not only essential when it comes to transporting goods overseas, but they are also versatile and flexible in various applications. In fact, there are numerous ways a shipping container can be given a new life after its original purpose is served, so it can still remain useful in the years to come. Here are a few amazing applications a shipping container can be used for, and some of them are incredibly surprising!

Sturdy shed

The fantastic thing about a shed is that it has many functions – from being a peaceful garden sanctuary to simply being a place to store gardening tools. Most of them are made from wood, but you may consider upgrading them to something more studier, such as a shipping container. This is because a shipping container will not rot or collect mold, unlike something made from wood. Additionally, no maintenance or assembly is required when converting a container into a shed. It also comes with increased security, meaning anything stored inside is likely to be better protected.

Outdoor pool

If you are someone who has always dreamt of having your own private backyard swimming pool, a shipping container may be a quick and easy solution to achieve that. There is no digging or planning permission required for you to convert a container into a pool – the 20ft or 40ft shipping container can simply be dropped into place. Currently, there are plenty of companies that are offering practical furnishing solutions and can quickly fit the container with filters, heat pumps, underwater lights, and ladders to completely transform it. The only thing you need to do is to get out your swimsuit!


In developing and densely populated countries where there may be less and poorer infrastructure, shipping containers can be a cheap and easy way to build schools. In fact, certain initiatives and charities have already started using shipping containers as building materials. For instance, the Legson Kayira Community Centre and Primary School by Architecture for a Change in Malawi are made using refurbished shipping containers, along with locally manufactured materials such as bamboo, bricks, and paver blocks.

Shipping containers are also a great solution when you want to construct something but with a minimum of disruption to the surrounding environment. For instance, you can use it to add classrooms to a school. The short installation times mean that work can be easily completed during the school holidays, so children will not have to deal with any disruptions in their education.

Mobile art gallery

One way to make art more accessible to a wide range of people and places is through the use of mobile art galleries. These can surprisingly be constructed using shipping containers too. An example includes GAD by MMW Architects, which is a temporary art gallery made using ten shipping containers that can easily be moved, assembled, and disassembled in just a few days. Alongside indoor gallery spaces, its unique structure also helps to create a central courtyard and roof terrace exhibition space.


There’s no surprise that architects have used clever and creative ways to convert shipping containers into housing for years. An industry leader would be Temphousing in the Netherlands, which has led many housing projects using shipping containers, such as Keetowonen. The student campus, which has a total of 1,000 modules stacked and arranged in blocks, is arranged in such a way as to create internal courtyards for bike parking and social gatherings. In addition to providing students with a private balcony, the campus also features a café, office space, supermarket, and sports facilities. The campus was built to help tackle a shortage of student housing in Amsterdam.


Also unsurprisingly, shipping containers are now also being widely used for hotel buildings. An example includes WineBox Valparaiso, based in Chile. The hotel is outfitted with colorful graffiti painted walls, that strikingly stand out in the area. The hotel contains a total of 21 studio rooms, and provides users with a living room, built-in kitchen, and sofa bed, in addition to a private terrace overlooking the bay. Other amenities and features of the hotel are lounge areas, BBQ facilities, a wine bar, in addition to a wine shop.


You only need to put a little imagination into a shipping container, and it can become an endless number of things in a playground. From a pirate ship to a cave, o a space station, a child’s imagination is limitless! In fact, using shipping containers to build playgrounds is something that is already happening. Moreover, the metal containers will be able to withstand any amount of rough and tumble the kids will inevitably throw at them.

Pop-up shop

On the whole, the shape, size, and sturdy nature of most shipping containers is the reason why they make such ideal candidates for being converted into a pop shop, bar, or café. In fact, with the right amount of colors and paints, a shipping container can be completely transformed so that almost no one will be able to tell what it originally was! Currently, a few companies, such as the Shipping Containers UK, is helping to do just that. They give previously dull-looking containers a fresh new look and a new life after their original use is completed.


You may not think this is possible, but it absolutely is. In fact, eight recycled shipping containers have already found a new home as reading rooms for a public library. This means they are now offering free books back to the community. Even better, is that each of the colored boxes of the main library is identified by a different function. Using shipping containers in this way is fantastic, as initiatives like this are a vital way by making a range of knowledge, services, and resources accessible to the community that needs it the most.

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