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    Impressive container architecture from around the world

    Shipping container architecture is on the rise.

    Sometimes referred to as ‘cargotecture’, more and more leading designers from around the world are choosing to repurpose and build with empty containers. It’s all in an effort to become more eco-friendly and improve sustainability. But, in our opinion, the results are truly spectacular.

    As a specialist in shipping container conversions – at Gap Containers – we’re fascinated by the amazing structures these designers have created. And, here, we highlight some of our favourites.


    1. Common Ground – Seoul, South Korea

    Common Ground is the world’s largest shopping mall made entirely from shipping containers.

    Designed and created by a local firm ‘Urbtainer’, the three-storey structure comprises 200 large modular containers and has a total area of 5300m2. Inside, shoppers can find approximately 70 stores, over 20 bars and restaurants, as well as a rooftop terrace that hosts various events.

    It’s an impressive piece of container architecture. One that has set the precedent for similar container-based retail centres all over the world – including the UK’s BOXPARK in London.

    Example of shipping container architecture


    2. The ‘Cantène de Containers’ – Normandy, France

    This is a unique ‘cargotecture’ sculpture, inaugurated in 2017 for Le Havre’s 500th anniversary celebrations. Produced by visual artist, Vincent Ganivet, colourful shopping containers are used like giant building blocks – fixed together to create two monumental, eye-catching arches.

    Sitting between the city and the sea, the final installation truly takes your breath away. And it’s fast become one of the city’s most iconic and well-loved sights, even dubbed ‘Le Havre’s Eiffel Tower’.

    Example of container architecture


    3. Bharati Research Station – Antarctica

    Bharati is India’s third permanent research base in Antarctica.

    Due to its location, the base needed to be sustainable and resistant to harsh weather conditions, including low temperatures and powerful winds. And the solution – offered by leading architects, Bof Architekten – was a striking container-based structure clad with an insulated aerodynamic skin.

    The research station is made from 134 shipping containers in total, creating enough space to house many labs and workshops and allowing scientists to live and work in one of the most extreme environments on the planet. It illustrates just how innovative container architecture can be.

    Example of cargotecture


    4. Qiyun Mountain Camp – Huangshan, China

    The Qiyun Mountain Camp is the largest natural adventure and extreme sports park in China.

    Designed by award-winning design studio, LOT-EK, it really is a sight to behold. The park is located by the Qiyun Mountain and a series of containers are joined, tilted, combined and then strategically placed among the hilly landscape. Containers are colour-coded to create detectable landmarks, with blue and orange containers marking the entrance and yellow signifying the highest hill of the park.

    Another fantastic example of shipping container architecture at its best.

    Example of container architecture


    5. Mach 1 – Edinburgh, UK

    Last but not least, is Mach 1. This impressive piece of cargotecture is still in the design phase. But the unbelievable plans put forward certainly caught our eye, so it’s one that we had to mention.

    The distinctive structure was designed by David Mach, one of the UK’s most successful and respected artists. Initially, it will be used as a marketing suite for the 43-acre Edinburgh Park development – before subsequently becoming an art, events and conference venue.

    Constructed from over 30 shipping containers and resembling a collapsed Jenga set, the final structure is predicted to make a dramatic statement, whilst also serving as a functional building.

    Example of shipping container architecture


    Start your own ‘cargotecture’ project today

    Here at Gap Containers, we’re certainly not world-leading architects and we definitely couldn’t produce architectural structures as original or breath-taking as those seen above.

    But, we do sell new and used shipping containers; and, if you’re looking to start a new ‘cargotecture’ project, we could be the perfect partner to supply your metal building blocks. What’s more, we’re also specialists in shipping container conversions and can help to create a wide range of container-based structures, including offices, classrooms, pop-up shops, mess huts, canteens and more.

    So, if you have an idea in mind, why not get in touch and tell us more?

    We’re always on hand and happy to help, and we’d love to hear about your container architecture plans. Simply give us a call on 0870 240 9405 or send an email to


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    December 8, 2020 | Danni

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