Building with Shipping Containers: London

March 8, 2018

In the efforts to be more sustainable, less costly, and overall more thoughtful of how we build and construct new buildings and other structures, cities the world over have decided that because of the durability and long life of shipping containers, they are a perfect answer to issues such as these. Easy to find, to paint, to customize, and to repurpose, storage containers are strong enough to build with and abundant enough to use for a variety of construction projects. Because of that, we decided to start looking for projects that could easily inspire you for your next big idea and share them here.

Today, we thought we would highlight some of the projects that London, England has added to their city. From small “cities” and retail malls, to sets of stairs, they’ve found a lot of new ways to build with shipping containers.

Container City I

stack of red shipping container apartments with a white elevator shaft at Container city I in London

Photo Credit: Container City

The Container City I was built in the heart of an areacalled Trinity Buoy Wharf, in a place called the Docklands in 2001 and it only took five short months to complete the projects original 12 work studios with a total of 4,800 sq ft. Container City I is described as a flexible, modular, and systematic way to use shipping containers for high quality, affordable, accommodations for a wide range of uses. At a height of three stories, it was designed to be low cost and environmentally friendly with recycled materials making up about 80% of the entire building supply list. Shortly after being successfully completed, and with demand high for more, a fourth floor was added to the top of the structure to house more studios and apartments.

Container City II

Yellow shipping container apartment at Container City II in London

Photo Credit: Container City

Container City I was a success, so because of this, in 2002, Urban Space Management added an addition which they dubbed the Container City II. It is easily recognisable by its funky shape and its bright colors. This project reached five stories high and is connected to Container City I via bridges and walkways. It boasts of 22 studios with an elevator as well as full disabled access, utilizing the same mindset as it’s predecessor with a desire to use recycled materials. The versatile system is a great example of using recycling in the construction world, which also cuts both project building costs and their construction times dramatically.

The Riverside Building

Yellow apartment building made from shipping containers

Photo Credit: Container City

Urban Space Management headquarters is actually inside one of their own projects, which is perfectly fitting. “The Riverside Building” is also located in the same area as both Container City I and II, and is made from 73 containers which provide 24 office spaces on its five floors. Completed in September 2005 and the third of the Container City projects to be built at London’s Trinity Buoy Wharf, The Riverside Building is complete with environmental-minded features such as natural ventilation, rainwater harvesting, and light sensitive external lighting.


Retail sign that says Boxpark on a black shipping container

Photo Credit: Roger Wade Shoreditch

The world’s first “pop up mall”, The first Boxpark (there are now a few) is located in London’s Shoreditch area. Fusing concepts of street food meets pop-up retail outlet mall, Boxpark delivers a community of brands specializing in drinks, fashion, arts, and food. The mall is made from 61 containers total.

Creator Roger Wade devised the plan to repurpose shipping containers to deliver revolutionized retail experiences. His model provides not only an alternative set-up for customers but it also allows retailers affordable, flexible opportunities to showcase their brands, images, and talent, thus creating a vibrant, fashion-forward and creative space where their customers can unwind, shop, and dine.

Container Stairs

Public stairs made with shipping containers

Photo Credit: Inhabitat

This staircase was built for the Southbank Centre in London and was commissioned as part of their 60th Anniversary Festival of Britain. The staircase opened up a new route through the area, created from a total of 3 shipping containers as well as pallets to create the planted terraces. This allowed for a view to the square below and places for people to sit to enjoy the weather or landscape. In London, they saw it as a celebration of recycling, repurposing, and adapting mass produced and often abandoned materials.

Need some storage containers? Are you trying to think of new materials to build with? By utilizing conex storage boxes like ours, you can save money while also being environmentally conscience by reusing products that can easily have a new life and new purpose. Tuff Box has all the shipping containers you need, just give us a call for your quote: 855-861-2872

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