Sustainable Design Made of Shipping Containers


Designed by Copenhagen-based studio, this project called WFH House is developed in China by Arcgency and Teknologisk Institut for their client World FLEX Home. As we all know, recycling is one of the major issues nowadays. Especially when it comes to architecture and sustainable design. We’ve seen a lot of creative ways to build a home from stretch using eco-friendly materials or recycled ones, but we’ve never seen a house entirely build of shipping containers. The house surrounded by lush vegetation  ”was designed to produce more energy than it consumes through the use of upcycled shipping containers as a steel frame, a sustainable bamboo facade, a rainwater collection system, solar cell-clad green roof and permeable paving.”


The WFH concept is a patented modular building system, based on a design principle, using 40 feet high standard modules as structural system and in according to developers the structure can be adapted to local challenges such as climatic or earthquake issues and can be configured to meet many different purposes, multi storey, townhouses, cluster houses or individual villas.
The interior is neat, dressed up in impeccable white, yet with splashes of colour, here and there. The colourful rugs create a comfy feeling and somehow, they remind us of the pure and minimalistic (also very stylish) Scandinavian design.






  • Juliet on said:

    I would like to build a house in the Gambia and a complex there are so many abandoned containers this could really be the solution to be able to build a environmentally friendly home is the solution .

    • i first saw this being done in africa, they are very resourceful peoples, they only use the actual containers (normally two stacked) and cut windows directly into the steel. but they work excellently and you don’t need much in the way of insulation out there. Good luck on your adventure 🙂

    • When I consider the thriving industry that exists on refurnishing and sell these refurbished containers here in SA, these lost containers could equal good business opportunity!

      Then build a luxury home without the rust concerns.

      I love what they did but think it is a bit of a gimmick stunt and not a solution to the worlds housing problem.

          • No, there IS such a thing as overpopulation. All species, plant or animal, has a carrying capacity in relation to it’s environment. Too many of one species, especially a wasteful, polluting one such as ourselves, takes a toll on all the other species and the system collapses due to the imbalance. Basic common sense. And basic science. It has nothing to do with hate.

          • Yes there is over-population. Humans are resource and space hungry. We know there are other man made problems with un-necessary man-made pollution, corruption, war and mis-management… BUT there are around 2Billion too many humans and to support this number we are allowing policy makers to tear up the countryside, displace or drive to extinction whole species of animals and polute the seas, the land and the skies… and it is never enough for them
            Humans are the worst thing to ever happen to this planet

          • Sophie on said:

            I think over population is a dangerous red herring…..We in the Global North consume many many more resources per head than in Global South – It is therefore not over population but over consumption that is the presenting issue. Populations seem to level out with development, but resource use is increasing because of current popular and political will. I believe its dangerous to point a finger at over population as it is an abdication of responsibility. We change they way we consume and we won’t have so much pressure on our systems.

  • Valerie Brown on said:

    I originally seen this in the Netherlands, then on my local news in Missouri! Thought what a wonderful use of such a durable material. It is so wonderful the see the design evolve into such a sleek architecture fixture (especially inside).

    • Wendy on said:

      Valerie — when you say you saw this in the Netherlands, do you mean the actual house or a news item on it? We will be in NL in June and I would love to see it! Cheers, Wendy (New Zealand)

      • Tina on said:

        I think the Netherlands started using them as dorm room buildings as an inexpensive solution to meet the demand for student housing.

      • Wouter on said:

        In Amsterdam and the Hague we have lots of dorm houses (500 containers stacked together) made out of containers. We are going to use them also to house refugees. There are also more private projects witch are better looking then the dorm-citys. You can find them on Google Earth. Stavangerweg 502, Amsterdam.

  • Wesley on said:

    It’s all well and good but it’s really just a house built around shipping containers the house could be built exactly the same cheaper without them where the money could be put to a more positive use

    • Paul Ames on said:

      rather then making such a bold statement, run some numbers on a stick built home that will last for 75 yrs. or so, and then let us know.

    • I agree. There’s little point having the shipping containers in there as so much is cut out of them and so much is put onto them that they might as well leave them out altogether.
      The article says it’s built entirely from them, which is obviously not true in the slightest.
      Paul, your reply has no relevance to what Wesley said. A stick built home? Are you saying that no house can be built without shipping containers or something?

    • Dawn Henderson on said:

      I think the main point is the use of recycled material on a grand scale. The conflict of concept does come in when cost is considered. The whole idea of recycled material brings to mind a lesser cost if not completely cost-free.

    • Wesley, the home shown is very flash. Re-using all of the old shipping containers does not require the extra expense that they have put into this one. Just a single 40 foot container as it stands, without alterations, could be used to house a family instead of them making a shanty from scrap iron sheets and whatever else, quite often flammable, they can find to put a weather-proof and secure
      roof over their heads.

      • You are correct, it can be made useable without the added expense, I worked in a grocery warehouse and used to unload them, they are pretty useable, floor, ceiling and walls are already insulated.

  • martymcfly on said:

    I would love to buy a plot of land and live in this kinda of dwelling. But could you heat it? and would this work with the weather in Canada?

    • housingtechguy on said:

      You could do it. Insulation of the outside is more effective anyway – the new green building guide adopted in Ontario would want you to have R-32 on the walls (that’s about 8″ of mineral fibre blanket) and R-50 on the roof. Designed carefully, it wouldn’t be a problem. Leave a reply if yer serious.

    • housingtechguy on said:

      In Canada, a shipping container costs about $3700 for a used High Cube (40′ long x 8′ wide x 9’6 tall)

      • There is a company in Canada idekit. They have been on TV. Their Company is in Quebec… but I guess they can build anywhere.

      • In South Africa (SA) terms the container content at purchase value and no rust removal or repairs required that would involve a cost of ZAR36000.00. Cant see a saving but would really like to see an exact breakdown of materials cost and labour put into this to produce such a fantastic home.

  • Zeus Amadeus on said:

    I agree with Wesley. This seems like it would be more trouble and costly than to build from traditional methods. Not only do you have to stack and secure these containers, but you then have to frame around them on the inside and outside. Seems like double the work, what is the cost of this?

    • housingtechguy on said:

      What you are getting using Containers is an excellent fire-proof structural system in a re- or up-cycled base at a very low cost. What you add on after that is your own affair. Traditionally-framed north-american houses use a huge amount of wood to achieve anything like as good a structural system, and wood is by no means cheap anymore. The largest part of the construction process in both labour time and money costs (in Canada, anyway) is building the frame everything else will hold on to. Having this provided at low cost (see above) means you can spend more time and money on energy efficiency and interior and exterior finishes.

      • Containers are in no way fireproof. There were plenty of people here in Alaska, that used containers as storage on their recreational properties and when the wildfires spept through the last couple of years, the content still had burned. Thats like saying a house build out of bricks and mortar is fire proof. Well, i guess its only the content that burns….but it most likely will.

      • AskIan on said:

        I’d say the ground insulation/ pad would be the biggest issue in CANADA, of course in permafrost areas you would want air circulation underneath and good floor insulation. In a perfect world you use the cut out sections as either floor or roof and/or cut up additional containers to create these elements and internal supports.
        Why they don’t do Amsterdam style housing using this system in Vancouver BC escapes me.

  • Elizabeth on said:

    I always want to see floor plans! I do like the way the containers are separated/connected by the bright light-filled roof.

    Would this be safer in Tornado Alley than mobile homes?

    • Absolutely. Shipping containers are built to withstand hurricanes at sea, and the sections are welded as the homes are built, so if they’re securely anchored, they’re likely to weather a tornado.

  • rusureuwant2know on said:

    If this is supposed to be “green”, what’s with the vaulted ceilings (they waste space and energy)

  • Kardi on said:

    Greetings and Salutations from Down Under.
    We love your design and have been tinkering away with our own ideas and designs of sea container conversions. We have one sea container here on our block at the moment and always thought it possible to convert. Your pics said Yes it is possible. How light and airy it is inside, how inviting.
    Do you have the plans for your design, and can we purchase them? We live in Australia and hope that we would be able to have the plans so that we may put to our local building inspectors.
    Please let us know the status of your design.
    Warm Regards,
    Kardi Harrower

    • Wayne on said:

      Kari, have just read the possibilities these containers have in home construction – did or has anyone giving you a cost to build a home. I too am down under NSW would like to know what issues if any you ran into plus size and costs factors

    • I’m in Australia too and I have made some enquiries regarding shipping container homes. Nothing as extravagant as that though. But the information I was given is that if it’s not a permanent structure, no permits or approvals are required.

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  • Julie Samerton on said:

    This is an amazing concept, I really love innovation, and creative design. On the outside it did look a little on the boring side, and felt the outside needed that something, to make you go WOW! Taking a closer look, the inside does have that WOW factor, that I was looking for on the outside. But, having seen the opinions on here, you all already giving that WOW factor, so perhaps it’s just me, lol! Love it, and I can see the beneficial uses they have, especially in the world countries.

  • In internet se ne vedono di case costruite attorno a container, ma questa è indubbiamente quella che mi piace di più, il design scandinavo si vede ed è molto accattivante.
    Mi chiedo però quale sia il costo dei container presumo dismessi da altre aziende e se sono effettivamente di facile recupero.

  • Julie K. on said:

    I’m a big fan of cargotecture and I love how these virtually indestructible crates lying around us can be repurposed to serve as stylish modular living spaces. I put together a few reasons why I think these container homes are a viable housing alternative together with a few examples and links for companies in Canada.

    I believe that they have a great potential and something has to be done about the negative public perception of this concept. It allows anybody to make ecologically sensitive choices that would normally be too cost-heavy for the average homeowner. And in most cases feels more like a sleek designer pad than a house built from used shipping containers.

    Way to go. In cargotecture we trust!

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  • Michael Hockam on said:

    Great article and amazing use of shipping containers and i love being part of the shipping industry for this very reason, we have been building some amazing stuff and it never seizes to amaze me what people come up.

  • The use of shipping containers greatly improves the durability of the structure and reduces the cost of construction while up cycling something without much effort.

  • Steve on said:

    Shut up dummy.So as long as peace and love and governmental micromanagement are in place the Earth can sustain hundreds of billions of people? C’mon let’s be honest love, peace and chicken grease will only get you so far.

  • Hi have you got any plans and break down costs for your containers I live in New Zealand and are wanting to build some thing like this I have 2 forty foots all ready and other on its way.

  • Danny on said:

    Is it posible to build it on bonaire (dutch carribean) and can you provide the cost of the house?
    Are there more samples with this system like a bunalow style?
    Kind regards, Danny

  • Well the average price on one container is little under 1000USD for a 40ft. Stack them at put 50mm rockwool in a wooden construction – would make a perfect home for a family, for little less than 1500 USD.

  • In SA you can just as well build with bricks as you need to insulate the containers, you also need to pour a slab strong enough to carry the weight. Bricks have less maintenance as it doesn’t rust

  • Snnir"s Mom on said:

    I checked the cost of containers in Washington.
    I can build cheaper Than buying one and paying for them to deliver it.

  • remko on said:

    nothing permanent. that means no water mains connected and no sewerage connected and it must be permanent on wheels to qualify for that

  • Griz Hart on said:

    Yeah….Looks good brand new…. Lets see it in 10 yrs time…. from experience I know Bamboo to not be water friendly at all. And steel and timber and gibboard ALL expand and contract at different rates….there’ll be cracks in the architraves and skirting boards…won’t be soo nice then.

  • Tatjana on said:

    How there is no overpopulation, when I was in elementary school it was 3,4 billion, and now we have 7,3 or more billion people on the planet.

  • Bingo Kingo on said:

    Population growth is fueled by increased food availability. Until humans stop producing excess food, the global population will grow. It is the first thing we learned in the petri dish. Any biologic population that receives an increase in food supply responds with populatiin growth. Pretty simple, as every living person is made from food, not clay, not a man’s rib.

  • Nancy on said:

    Hi, I’m Nancy and recently relocated to Colorado. These Container Homes look awesome, can you share the contact details and website url of the company who made them?

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