Whilst containers used to be viewed as single unit space solutions on construction sites, in recent years container conversions have become more creative, inspiring and ambitious. The low cost and flexibility of the shipping container has resulted in the growing popularity of ‘container communities’, where many containers are clustered together in a complex.

Whilst creative retail outlets using one or two containers (as in the image below) have become more frequently used in an urban setting, ambitions are escalating!

More than a dozen food, retail or office complexes made from shipping containers have opened across Britain within the past three years, as discussed in this recent BBC article.

Newcastle upon Tyne’s shipping container complex, called Stack Newcastle, opened in 2018. It is made from more than 50 converted shipping containers, and operators said it received 50,000 visitors a week on average within six months of opening. It only has permission to be on the site for three years, making it an ideal space for a local independent business to test the market at a low rent and with a more flexible lease.

It’s easy to see why demand for container ‘communities’ is growing. Not only are converted shipping containers extremely cost effective when compared to creating a building from scratch, the structural strength and integral free-standing properties of the commercial shipping container means they require relatively little groundwork. A complex of shops could spring up in a very short timescale and be decommissioned and removed from site with relative ease.

When it comes to container conversions you’d be hard pushed to find a limit on modifications, so it’s not surprising that more and more inspiring examples of container use for larger scale projects are appearing. If you know of an interesting or inspiring container conversion, share it with us on our Facebook page.

If you’re thinking of using shipping containers for your project, you can search for your nearest depot location here.

Whilst creative retail outlets using one or two containers (as in the image below) have become more frequently used in an urban setting, ambitions are escalating!