Top Alternative Uses for Storage Containers 

Top Alternative Uses for Storage Containers 
Whilst 44.6% of people use self storage for moving house, just over 16% of people also revealed that they used it to "create more space at home". Whilst they don't always look impressive from the outside, we explore some alternative ways storage containers have been used around the world. From award-winning designer homes to life-saving medical centres, these steel containers have more uses than might meet the eye.

Farming - Freight Farms: US and International 

Farming is fast becoming one of the more popular and sustainable methods of repurposing shipping containers. The technique of growing crop without the use of soil (hydroponic) has enabled businesses to generate their own produce at whatever scale they require. One of the biggest operators in this space is 'Freight Farms', a business dedicated to environmentally sound methods of farming for communities, campuses and companies across the majority of US states and 14 other countries around the world. Farm-to-table restaurants are fast becoming a hot trend in the food space, and initiatives of this nature are a way of enabling ventures of every scale to involve themselves. 
Photo Credit: Instagram @freightfarms
  • This method enables the growing of produce in regions where food is regularly imported such as Hawaii.
  • Companies such as Freight Farms aren't just invested in getting their product use, but promote their skills and the education around the topic through workshops, tutorials and placed members of staff. 
  • High profile customers include Google, who famously feed their employees for every meal, grow organic herbs using Freight Farms technology. This has led to popularity across corporate, schools and nonprofits all over America and many other nations. 

Travel - Ccasa Hostel, Vietnam 

Vietnamese TAK Architects created a hostel using stacks of polished shipping containers.  Located close to the centre of popular backpacking beach destination, Nha Trang, the hostel is a minimally style example of how the repurposing of shipping containers exist in the hotel industry. The pergola that sits around the individual containers helps to defend the units from direct sunlight during hotter periods of the year. 
Photo Credit: Instagram @ccasa_hostel
  • Being designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, buildings made from containers are durable, meaning they're great for countries prone to extreme weather. 
  • Most can last over twenty years as long as they are kept in good condition and rust is removed from the exterior.

Food - Pop Brixton, UK 

Consisting of 1,425 sq. metres of public space in the heart of Brixton, this group of shipping containers is a community of pop-up enterprises varying in their usage. From communal areas and event spaces to street food stalls and micro-restaurants, Pop has it all. As well as food and drink, Pop has been host to independent retailers, a barbershop, a tattoo parlour, a radio station and even free midweek yoga sessions. 
Photo Credit: Flickr: corno.fulgur75
  • The project has turned land that was previously disused into an independent and creative space for local businesses and residents to enjoy.

Healthcare - The Salam Cardiac Surgery Centre, Sudan

Located in Khartoum, Sudan, this medical facility is formed of old shipping containers and powered by solar energy. With surgery rooms and diagnostic labs, this North-East African hospital, produced by TAMassociati Architecture is a revolutionary approach to architecture in this space. The work of TAMassociati Architecture was formally recognised when it was shortlisted for the 2013 Aga Khan Architecture Award. The Salam Centre has been offering up free pediatric and adult cardiac health care since 2007 and is run by the Italian humanitarian organization EMERGENCY.

Photo Credit: Flickr: Gabriele Cardu
  • A sustainable facility which not only repurposes existing building materials but engineers solar power.
  • Gardens and courtyards are integrated throughout the complex to create a calmer setting for patients than those we are often used to seeing. 

Housing - Glassberg House, Missouri 

Both alternative and innovative, using containers to build a dream home has become a recent design trend. Not only are these homes cheaper and faster to build than building a conventional house, these houses can also be eco-friendly and sustainable if the right materials are used. One of the most popular container homes is the Glassberg House in Missouri, which features two bedrooms, an office, television room and an edible garden.
Design - BNIM | Photographer - Matt Kocourek

With property prices reaching record highs over the last few years, container homes have been considered a cost-effective option for those looking to get onto the property ladder. Depending on the size of the build and modifications, a container home can cost between $10,000 to $175,000. - Whilst many may think corrugated steel containers restrict creativity, using raw materials such as bamboo, bright colours and recycled wood can create a stunning exterior or interior design.

One for the Future! - Globe Container Theatre, Global 

Still yet to be fully produced, the 'The Container Globe' is a fund-raising effort that aims to produce a mobile reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe by repurposing old containers. This structure would be mobile and could be stationed in cities around the world to hold performances of Shakespeare as well as other theatre and music. 
Photo credit: instagram @container_globe

This plan for a reimagined multi-use venue of existing cultural significance would be given a 21st century twist through both its composition and the fact that it is portable.  

Storage containers are changing the way we think about architecture and storage space the way we know it, as we can see from this list, storage containers aren't just for storing memories and old furniture. For many people, this approach may be more cost-effective than building a standard brick and mortar home, but we'd recommend that if you're inspired by this list to research further before trying to take on such a grand project.

But if you're just looking for somewhere to store your belongings  or need more tips on self-storage, visit Safestore’s blog where you’ll find a range of topics and more. Or, discover our range of self storage options in over 100 location

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