This line of prefab tiny homes built from disused shipping containers proves that less is more!

VMD (Vivienda Minima de Descanso) from STUDIOROCA is a line of prefabricated tiny homes built from disused shipping containers in Mexico, with an interior equipped with off-grid capabilities and simple luxuries.

These days, everyone’s downsizing. Tiny homes have become the answer to our neverending quest for a smaller carbon footprint and campers bring us that much closer to the mobile lifestyle each one of us dreams about. For Mexico-based architecture firm, STUDIOROCA, shipping containers hold the key.

After asking the question of our times, “What would you do with less?”, Rodrigo Alegre and Carlos Acosta of STUDIOROCA pumped out a line of prefabricated homes, VMD (Vivienda Minima de Descanso) constructed from disused shipping containers.

STUDIOROCA designed the line of prefabricated homes to provide a “no-fuss, low-cost building solution,” outfitting the exterior and interior with environmentally friendly materials and smart home automation systems. Tracing the interior’s open layout, each one-bedroom shipping container provides an open-plan kitchenette, a dining area, and living space on one end, then a bathroom and storage space can be found in the middle, whereas the bedroom finds privacy on its own end.

The distinguishable corrugated siding on the shipping container’s exterior is constructed from black Hunter Douglass Quadroline aluminum, which merges into gray Valchromat Viroc cement-bonded particle board, giving the home a rich, industrial look amidst natural surroundings. Constructed to last, the exterior of VMD shipping containers is resistant against water and fire, non-toxic, thermally insulating, and sound-dampening, providing a quiet, safe retreat.

Following a minimal-impact assembly process, each shipping container from STUDIOROCA’s VMD line is constructed in an offsite factory over the span of three months to be installed within a time frame of only seven days. While each prefab home can be customized to fit the taste of each client, they also come with preset elements.

The flooring, for instance, comes from FSC-certified engineered oak and each home comes equipped with smart home appliances. After choosing between a 320-square-foot one-bedroom home, 640-square-foot two-bedroom home, or a 640-square-foot three-bedroom home, clients can add on elements like an outdoor deck and off-grid capacities.

Designer: STUDIOROCA

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Architectural designs made from shipping containers that encourage sustainable living + exhibit great waste purposing!

Recently, repurposed shipping containers have gained immense popularity in architecture! They are being used to build homes, offices, and other architectural structures. It’s a sustainable trend that gives birth to compact, modular, and easily portable structures that can serve as almost anything – from tiny homes to even swimming pools! This trend basically eliminates the process of construction, hence reducing greenhouse emissions, and contributing to designs that are not only ecological but economical as well. And, we’ve curated some of the most amazing architectural structures for you, that have been created from shipping containers. Sustainable, compact, and surprisingly good-looking, these designs could be the future of modern architecture!

Ela, a tiny home currently available for booking on Airbnb, is one of two shipping containers turned cabins designed by Bethany Hershberger that sits in the forested clearing of Walnut Creek, Ohio. Arriving at the tiny home, guests descend a long timber staircase that brings them to the forest floor where Ela is located. Situated on a slight incline, Ela emerges from the trees on an exposed wooden foundation that carries the shipping container and outdoor leisure area. Accessible via a folding loft step ladder, the outdoor living area features a lounging area with plenty of chairs, a natural gas fire pit, an outdoor shower, and a tub. From the shower to the deck chairs, Ela finds warmth in natural wooden accents and textured glass elements to create a private, yet intimate leisure area.

Estúdio Lapinha in Belo Horizonte, Brazil is a tiny home constructed out of two conjoined shipping containers, designed by architecture studio Plano Livre. By design, the corrugated steel boxes are prepared for every season and all the elements that come with them. In Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Plano Livre, a Minas Gerais-based architecture studio, designed and constructed Estúdio Lapinha, a tiny home formed out of two conjoined shipping containers. The hydraulics of Estúdio Lapinha reside in the former module, while all of the home’s furniture and living spaces are located in the latter.

Ahurewa is a 60m2 off-grid tiny home constructed from five shipping containers to provide natural eco-insulation and the potential for modular expansion. Situated in the mountains of New Zealand’s Mahakirau Forest Estate, Ahurewa is a sustainable tiny home equipped with twelve solar panels, a 4kw system inverter, two 25,000 liter water tanks, and a worm-composting septic system. Composed of five shipping containers, the tiny home benefits from natural eco-insulation and an industrial build that’s long-lasting and durable. Four of the five shipping containers are dedicated to actual living space, while the fifth shipping container only keeps the home’s mudroom. The mudroom primarily functions as a transitional space between the outdoors and indoors.

Dubbing them “the world’s cardboard boxes,” Rathnam felt inspired to build the pools as a means of giving the discarded shipping containers new purpose and new life to backyards. The shipping containers are purchased by Rathnam after goods are shipped to North America from China since they would otherwise just be discarded and not reused for shipping purposes. Depending on your backyard and its building parameters, Modpools can be customized to fit. No matter where you live, Modpools can be integrated into your home’s environment. Maintaining a clean and dent-free look, Rathnam’s Modpools are formed from single-use containers that only ship goods such as cellphones, computers, and clothes.

This two-story home crafted from shipping container materials and Sapele wood is designed to rise and fall with the natural changes in sea level as we battle climate change. Kairu is a variation of the Japanese word for frog which is an homage to the water-based home. The area is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy even after a decade and could use innovative reconstruction. That is where Kairu House comes in as an affordable, sustainable, and resilient home. It will become the primary residence for the founder and principal architect of Rekstur and his family. The main building is made of two 40-feet-tall shipping containers.

Containerwek transformed old shipping containers into 21 micro-apartments for people who visit the town of Wertheim, Germany. Deemed, My Home, all the apartments have been placed in decommissioned shipping containers. The containers have been clad in timber and organized in groups of three. The 26 square meter micro-apartments showcase an open-plan space, amped with a kitchenette, dining table, television, a bed, and a bathroom.

This MUA getaway cabin is right by the Tbilisi Sea, in Georgia, and gives our summer imagination a life. The cabin is located 20 minutes away from the city center and has been designed by the architecture team to serve as a relaxing space where they can recharge their creative batteries – it’s like when a doctor prescribes medicine for themself, win-win! The container sits next to the sailing club (another MUA creation) by the Tbilisi Sea. During summer, this area is popular among the locals and becomes a hub for fishing and water sports activities. The impressive monument of Zurab Tsereteli also graces the location which makes it an even more interesting project site.

Grillagh Water House by Patrick Bradley is made up of four stacked shipping containers! A balcony shaded by steel fins projects from the upper story of this house in Northern Ireland, which this architect and farmer built using four used shipping containers. “I didn’t want to change the idea or the aesthetics of the design but I had to come up with an alternative that was more affordable and that’s where the idea for shipping containers came from,” says Bradley.

We are adding Gaia by Pin-Up Houses to our list of the most incredible tiny houses! Gaia is a discarded shipping container turned into a cozy, self-sufficient home fitted with the latest technology to match your modern lifestyle. It was designed to be an alternative solution to traditional housing and reduce the negative impact on the environment. One of the main features of the experimental off-the-grid housing project is that it harvests solar and wind energy. Gaia doesn’t rely on external sources of energy or water which is vital in the current climate crisis as well as the future. It comes equipped with solar panels and a wind turbine so the batteries will be fully charged at any time of the day and during all seasons. You can monitor the battery levels through a mobile app even if you are on the go.

‘Bureau Agreste’ is a modern shipping container office that provides professionals with a dedicated working space. The contemporary aesthetic masks the fact that it is an eco-friendly space. It has two levels with an open floor plan that makes it feel roomier and encourages productivity. It also features solar panels on the roof along with a rainwater harvesting system which makes it perfect for off-grid locations – this way businesses can save on the high rent they would usually pay in big cities. The container suspension frees up the ground space for organizing recreational outdoor activities (or even parking!) and gives the elevation needed for natural light.

This tiny home in Brazil coated in bright colors inside and out is formed from two disused shipping containers!

Estúdio Lapinha in Belo Horizonte, Brazil is a tiny home constructed out of two conjoined shipping containers, designed by architecture studio Plano Livre.

The variations of tiny homes today seem to be endless. We’ve seen tiny houses with roofs that unfurl and expand to reveal concealed bedroom lofts. Then, there are the tiny home designs that can be assembled from flat-pack DIY kits. However, the most frequented choice for designers and architects of tiny homes has to be disused shipping containers.

By design, the corrugated steel boxes are prepared for every season and all the elements that come with them. In Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Plano Livre, a Minas Gerais-based architecture studio, designed and constructed Estúdio Lapinha, a tiny home formed out of two conjoined shipping containers.

Initially conceived for Casacor, an annual architectural show that takes place in Minas Gerais, the infrastructure and layout of Estúdio Lapinha were designed to be transported from Casacor’s exhibition space to a permanent residence. Finding transportability in shipping containers, the architects at Plano Livre merged two together to have one function as an infrastructural module and the other as the home’s living module.

The hydraulics of Estúdio Lapinha reside in the former module, while all of the home’s furniture and living spaces are located in the latter. By creating a dynamic tiny home out of modular shipping containers, Plano Livre constructed Estúdio Lapinha to be flexible and indeterminate in shape and size–a tiny home that can be expanded upon over time.

The tiny home’s exterior has been painted a muted lime green to complement the lush greenery that surrounds and completely immerses Estúdio Lapinha. Propped up on a wooden patio, Estúdio Lapinha finds height and rises alongside the trees and tall grasses nearby. Located on one side of Estúdio Lapinha, residents can lounge in a trampoline hammock just beyond the main bedroom’s expansive French doors.

Inside, bright painted walls and tiled flooring delineate each room and pay homage to Brazil’s colorful personality. The living and sleeping areas are the only parts of the home that find warmth in natural, unstained wooden paneling. The sofa’s back doubles as the bed’s headboard to provide a subtle and functional partition.

Throughout the home, steel shelving units provide extra storage space for bulkier items like heavy books and houseplants, tracing the ceiling from the kitchen to the cerulean blue bathroom. In addition to the expansive, floor-to-ceiling French doors, the home’s ceiling is painted the same green as its exterior to bring the home that much closer to the outdoors.

Designer: Plano Livre

Coated in cerulean blue, Estúdio Lapinha’s bathroom feels open and bright. 

Sliding floor-to-ceiling glass doors dissolve the barrier between the studio’s insides and the surrounding outdoors.

This shipping container has been transformed into a getaway by the sea!

When designers repurpose shipping containers into shelters, it feels like the adult version of building forts and tents! It’s taking something that doesn’t resemble a shelter – like bedsheets or shipping containers – and turning them into the most wonderful getaways. This MUA getaway cabin is right by the Tbilisi Sea, in Georgia, and gives our summer imagination a life. The cabin is located 20 minutes away from the city center and has been designed by the architecture team to serve as a relaxing space where they can recharge their creative batteries – it’s like when a doctor prescribes medicine for themself, win-win!

Architectural designs made of shipping containers that exhibit great waste repurposing + sustainable living!

Recently, repurposed shipping containers have gained immense popularity in architecture! They are being used to build homes, offices, and other architectural structures. It’s a sustainable trend that gives birth to compact, modular, and easily portable structures that can serve as almost anything – from tiny homes to even ICU pods! This trend basically eliminates the process of construction, hence reducing greenhouse emissions, and contributing to designs that are not only ecological but economical as well. And, we’ve curated some of the best architectural structures for you, that have been created from shipping containers. Sustainable, compact, and surprisingly good-looking, these designs could be the future of modern architecture!

One of Handcrafted Movement’s projects that I absolutely loved was the Pacific Harbor model. Built from a shipping container, the details truly show the team’s wanderlust and craftsmanship. It is built on a 30’x8.5’ triple axel Iron Eagle trailer – compact, convenient, and classy. The interiors are kept light and breezy to manifest the feeling of spaciousness. The tiny home includes a downstairs flex area that can be turned into a bedroom or home office, a sleeping loft in the back, stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, and a Mini-Split System for air conditioning and heating. The exterior features Board & Batt, black-framed windows, cedar accents, a cedar post & deck system.

Containerwek transformed old shipping containers into 21 micro-apartments for people who visit the town of Wertheim, Germany. Deemed, My Home, all the apartments have been placed in decommissioned shipping containers. The containers have been clad in timber and organized in groups of three. The 26 square meter micro-apartments showcase an open-plan space, amped with a kitchenette, dining table, television, a bed, and a bathroom.

‘Bureau Agreste’ is a modern shipping container office that provides professionals with a dedicated working space. The contemporary aesthetic masks the fact that it is an eco-friendly space. It has two levels with an open floor plan that makes it feel roomier and encourages productivity. It also features solar panels on the roof along with a rainwater harvesting system which makes it perfect for off-grid locations – this way businesses can save on the high rent they would usually pay in big cities. The container suspension frees up the ground space for organizing recreational outdoor activities (or even parking!) and gives the elevation needed for natural light.

These ICU pods are called CURA (Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments) which means “cure” in Latin (doesn’t that make you feel a little better?) and these will help take some load off the hospitals, especially in Italy. Ratti’s Studio, Carlo Ratti Associati, and MIT’s Senseable City Lab are creating mobile field hospitals with these CURA Intensive Care pods that serve as a biocontainment unit for two patients at a time. The pods can be assembled and disassembled very quickly, and because it is a shipping container, they can be moved from epicenter to epicenter by road, rail, and ship, around the world to address the need for more ICUs. The units are designed in repurposed 6.1-meter-long (approximately 8 feet x 8.5 feet) shipping containers with a ventilation system that generates negative pressure inside – this prevents the contaminated air from escaping thus reducing the risk of infecting health professionals who are more vulnerable because of a shortage of protective gear.

 This two-story home crafted from shipping container materials and sapele wood is designed to rise and fall with the natural changes in sea level as we battle climate change. Kairu is a variation of the Japanese word for frog which is an homage to the water-based home. The area is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy even after a decade and could use innovative reconstruction. That is where Kairu House comes in as an affordable, sustainable, and resilient home. It will become the primary residence for the founder and principal architect of Rekstur and his family. The main building is made of two 40-feet-tall shipping containers.

Grillagh Water House by Patrick Bradley is made up of four stacked shipping containers! A balcony shaded by steel fins projects from the upper story of this house in Northern Ireland, which this architect and farmer built using four used shipping containers. “I didn’t want to change the idea or the aesthetics of the design but I had to come up with an alternative that was more affordable and that’s where the idea for shipping containers came from,” says Bradley.

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has stacked 29 recycled shipping containers to make a Starbucks coffee shop alongside a shopping center in Hualien, Taiwan. The white containers have been put together to create a 320-square-meter cafe!

London architect James Whitaker depicts a proposal for a low-cost studio space in Germany comprising a cluster of shipping containers, which are arranged to allow direct sunlight into the interior at different times of the day.

 ‘Flowers in the Garden’ was designed to be a hybrid of communal workspace and a garden. The project challenges traditional office settings by integrating the natural environment as a part of the whole workspace. It is an organic but playful structure with soft screens and in-between green-buffering spaces that creates a diverse ecosystem of perforated mass that is always ‘breathing’. This office design lets you stay healthily distanced but not socially separated and provides a refreshing break from staring at your screens.

Cat Person provides ‘whole cat care,’ as they call it, which means they’ve considered everything, even giving the shipping containers a second purpose. The team at Cat Person knows that your cat will inevitably find its way to a cardboard box in the recycling corner, so they’ve made their shipping containers convertible into feline-friendly toys. Cat Person looked to industrial design to make further use of cardboard boxes and found transformation possible in corrugated cardboard and seams. Chris Granneberg, a California-based industrial designer, SLATE, a San Francisco-based strategic design studio, and Paul Davis, a UK-based illustrator, were all called on by Cat Person to seamlessly turn their cardboard shipping boxes into playhouses fit for felines.