basic container design

As I continue working with shipping containers and designing structures based on modular technology, it’s become increasingly apparent that a “get back to basics” strategy sometimes needs to be applied.  Searching the internet you can find literally thousands of designs and design websites showing every design type from the most simple and “rustic” to the most complex and “archi-sexy”.

I recently came across this graphic on another blog and thought “this is exactly what I needed”.  It’s a simple graphic of “typical” container layouts.  Obviously this isn’t an exhaustive list of possible combinations, but it gives a good starting place for thinking about how to organize a home out of modular building blocks like containers.

image courtesy of

As you can see above, the simplest modules are single story, side by side  and staggered configurations.  A side by side configuration lends itself to designing “pods” – one public (kitchen/living) and one private (sleeping/bathing).  By staggering two containers side by side you are able to take advantage of the offset in the form of porches or other exterior spaces.

From there, more complex stacked designs begin to offer double height interior spaces as well as balcony and covered outdoor spaces that can be used to blur the lines between interior and exterior living spaces.

The moral of our little tale here is, by keeping things simple you can open yourself up to some very dramatic and exciting design solutions.  The old adage “KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)” just makes sense doesn’t it?

And now for some random Google images of Container Structures that apply the above principle.

by architects Pieter Peelings & Silvia Mertens

simple house in Porta, Austria

Cordell House – Texas

student housing – France

6 thoughts on “basic container design

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention basic container design | r | one studio architecture --

  2. Hello! I am doing research on container architecture for the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF TV). Please, could you tell me where did you find the container house in Austria? There is no Porte in Austria.
    Here is my email Thanks! Nicola

    • that is a typ-o on my part. It should be Porta, Austria. If you search “shipping container home porta austria” there are a dozen or so blog posts that pop up.

      Good luck in your search.

    • That is awesome! I remember reading about this story a little less than two years ago when it was just a design and they were fundraising. So excited to see it well under way!
      Thanks for sharing!

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