There is a lot of chatter out there on the internet on whether or not shipping containers are worthy when it comes to construction. After studying the subject and now doing it, I weigh in as a resounding “yes”! My reasoning is as follows:

First and foremost they are structurally very strong. They are made to stack six high on a ship and withstand turbulent transportation, all the while protecting their contents.

Second, because they are used for intercontinental transportation they are watertight and rodent/insect proof. By the way, that includes insects and rodents prevalent in a variety of different countries (no one knows where the container is headed when it is built). A big plus.

Third, they are made of metal. This might be difficult to work with for the bulk of do-it your-selfers out there, but when it is done right it lasts a long time, perhaps generations.

Fourth, re-purposing a shipping container is very environmentally positive. Most containers that come to this country never leave. They just hang around. It’s just cheaper to make a new one in China and fill it than to send one back empty (no, we’re not sending much to China). Using it as housing is, in my opinion, it’s highest and best use. Far higher use than storage.

Written by Sam Austin.  Sam holds a Master’s in Architecture from the University of Colorado-Denver and has been practicing architecture since 1992. He specializes in residential design and has completed more than 200 homes in the Boulder area and beyond. For 17 years, he has designed beautiful modern custom homes and is renowned for his use of reclaimed materials.