Everyone has probably seen one of those large metal shipping containers at one point or another in their lives. These durable, steel shipping containers have an average lifespan of 25-year and they require minimal maintenance. The problem occurs when we literally fail to think outside the box. A shipping container is only a shipping container if your imagination fails you. Today, there are shipping container cafes, pop up container bars, and even shipping container pools. Basically, the possibilities are endless, everyone should use customized shipping containers to create their out of the box ideas.
1. Taco Bell’s Pop-Up Store
Taco Bell is well known for well…. Tacos! However, back in 2017 the first ever shipping container Taco Bell Store opened up for business. Sounds strange right? It is a little strange, but hey, it got them in the news and that kind of press wasn’t exactly bad for business. Now this concept was dreamed up back in 2015 at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals in Austin. The whole idea was meant to preserve the original fast food location in Downey, California. Thanks to a little social media-ing and some clearly creative individuals, they used customized shipping containers to create a new type of Taco Bell. The location in California features a drive-through, some outdoor seating, and a walk-up window. How cool is that? This is just one example of the magic that can happen with an imagination and a customized shipping container. What else is possible?
Apparently California is just with it when it comes to customized shipping containers. In July of 2018, KTGY Architecture + Planning in L.A broke ground on a project called: Westlake’s Hope on Alvarado project. What is it you ask? Why, it is a housing complex made out of… you guessed it! Shipping containers! Better yet, the Westlake’s Hope on Alvarado project is a housing complex for the homeless. The complex is home to 84 transitional housing units. These units are cheap to make in comparison to a traditional apartment complex, or neighborhood of townhomes for example. These customized shipping containers are customized in the middle of the manufacturing process, which just means that they actually get done and transferred to their final destination faster. The best part? When the units are complete, they are stacked in true Lego brick fashion! So you can run a business out of it, you can live in it, is there anything you can’t do with a customized shipping container?
While our final example is not from California, it is still pretty darn cool. So far we have seen what you can do when you stack shipping containers, but what about laying them end to end? Well, they start to look a lot like a train but take away the wheels and the whistle and you’re left with a totally cool, trusty metal bridge! This is exactly what they did in Ariel Sharon Park, Israel. The whole point of the bridge is to serve as the entrance to Ariel Sharon Park and to connect Lod road, which leads from east Tel Aviv to Bnei Atarot village, directly to the center of Hiriya Mountain Park. This idea takes the whole idea of reduce reuse recycle to the next level. There are approximately 17 million shipping containers in the world and only 6 million of them are in use. The world needs to be looking towards sustainability and reusing existing shipping containers could just be the way to go!
These three examples are just scratching the surface on ingenuity when it comes to customized shipping containers. The shipping container modifications that are possible are basically limitless, and in a world where we need to start thinking towards a more sustainable future, figuring out new and creative ways to utilize materials we already have- like shipping containers- is surely a step in the right direction!