An Introduction to Shipping Container Architecture

An Introduction to Shipping Container Architecture

Malcolm McLean invented shipping containers in the 1950s to make international cargo shipping easier and safer. While his invention still serves this original purpose, the large metal containers from freight shipping serve so many more purposes that we’re only starting to explore fully. Here’s a brief introduction to shipping container architecture and how it has evolved over the years.

Earliest Shipping Container Structures

Some of the earliest uses of shipping containers as buildings and architecture were during the Vietnam War. The United States military would send supplies and other necessities in shipping containers to soldiers in Vietnam, which many soldiers would turn into barracks. The metal containers became simplified sleeping quarters, which provided far more protection and durability than tents and canopies. They were safer and more reliable in war-torn areas.

The Idea of Livable Homes

The earliest idea of converting a shipping container into a fully habitable building is difficult to track down. In the 1970s, architect Nicholas Lacey wrote a thesis on the subject, but the first official record of a patented shipping container home came from Phillip Clark in 1987. Many experts argue that the idea didn’t really pick up steam until 1994 when Stewart Brand published How Buildings Learn, which contained many interesting details on how the process was possible. He provided several helpful tips for accomplishing such a conversion.

Modern Architecture Trends

The introduction of shipping container architecture gained notoriety in the United States with the construction of the Graceville Container House, a 6,000-square-foot mansion comprised of 31 containers. Because of its online popularity, people began expressing an interest in creating and designing shipping container homes, offices, and other structures. Many TV shows feature shipping container homes, such as the HGTV series Container Homes and the discovery+ show Containables, both of which focus on converting containers into practical structures.

Because of the rise in the popularity of container structures, International Port Management Enterprise makes it our mission to help people understand and appreciate the endless potential of shipping container architecture. We help our customers design, produce, and manufacture the structures that they need. You can build a shipping container studio for big projects or a shipping container shed for easy access. For more details, don’t hesitate to contact us anytime. A member of our team will explain our services and what we can do for you.