Upcycling – architecture that stacks up

Used shipping containers are popular with architects and interior designers alike. These compact boxes are small in size but big in impact, making them a global trend.

Urban, trendy and chic

Boxpark Dubai has been a sought-after location for boutiques, restaurants and entertainment venues since it opened in 2015. Much like the first box park in London, this Dubai counterpart is now a vibrant shopping quarter. Over 200 converted shipping containers provide an alternative shopping experience.

Iain Masterton/arabianEye

Four-star containers

Disused containers have even been converted into luxurious accommodation at the four-star Superior Boutique Hotel i31 in Berlin-Mitte. In the “Comfort Container” category, guests can stay in these unique 25 square-metre boxes located on the roof of a neighbouring building – including a garden terrace and view over the courtyard.

Hotel i31/Andreas Rehkopp

Hip new home

On an 11,000 square-metre site in Berlin, housing company Howoge is building a new student quarter with a difference. EBA Berlin comprises 369 fully furnished apartments inspired by the shipping container aesthetic – and the development even includes a small number of former containers.

EBA Berlin/Andreas Süß

Upgrading steel boxes

Old steel containers can be insulated from the cold and noise using a layer of recyclable material. Containerwerk, a start-up from Stuttgart, presented these heated, soundproof boxes at Milan Design Week. The idea won the Green Product Award 2018 in the architecture category.

Containerwerk Milan/Stefan Hohloch

Sustainable format

Starbucks opened a shop in Taiwan in 2018 consisting of 29 recycled transport containers. The drive-thru coffee shop in Hualien City was designed and built by Japanese star architect Kengo Kuma. In the US, Starbucks has 45 of these modular and sustainably designed stores.

Starbucks Media

Flexible and modular

Architects Nicholas Lacey & Partners created Container Cities I and II at London’s Trinity Buoy Wharf in 2000 and 2002 respectively. The two prototypes are made of old shipping containers which have been arranged in a flexible, modular system. Many projects are using this approach as a blueprint for stylish, high-quality and affordable housing.

By Elke Hildebrandt

age fotostock/Alamy Stock Photo
Title image: age fotostock/Alamy Stock Photo

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