The Rise and Rise of Cargotecture

09 March 2021

“Cargotecture” is a word you are going to hear more often over the coming years. It’s a buzz word that’s been created around a rising industry that involves recycling and using shipping containers for construction purposes. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at what Cargotecture is exactly, and why it’s proving to be such a popular and emerging trend.


What Is Cargotecture?

The word “Cargotecture” is a combination derived from cargo containers (shipping containers) and architecture. It’s a term used to describe the use of shipping containers for construction in both the residential and commercial markets. These homes and business premises are fully-functional buildings that are predominantly made from either new or used shipping containers. Either one or more shipping containers are used in the overall construction.

The term of Cargotecture has been around since 2003 and is fast becoming synonymous with a new breed of design and construction techniques.

Every year, multiple thousands of shipping containers get discarded. With Cargotecture, brand new and practical uses have been devised for these unused cargo containers.

What Can Be Built With Cargotecture?

Cargotecture has opened the door to a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to practical uses for shipping containers, other than their original purpose of transporting and storing goods. These days you’ll discover all manner of buildings, business enterprises and other ideas that have been adapted from shipping containers.

One of the most common adaptations is in home construction, where entire homes have been built using one or multiple shipping containers in their design. Homes can even be built with multiple stories using shipping containers.

 Images courtesy Tiger Containers

Mobile food and beverage businesses have seen the value in utilising shipping containers to create kitchens that can be transported from one location to another, or even be permanently mounted on the back of a truck. This offers the proprietor fantastic flexibility when it comes to where they can do business.

Other common projects arising from cargotecture include:

  • Mobile ablution blocks
  • Home office space
  • On-site office space for construction sites
  • Roadside kitchens
  • Trendy bars and cafes
  • Restaurants
  • Storage facilities
  • Home extensions
  • Granny flats
  • Man caves and she sheds
  • Workshops and backyard sheds
  • Temporary emergency housing
  • Jail cells
  • And more...

 Why Shipping Containers Are a Popular Choice For Construction

The most logical reason why shipping containers are so often repurposed for other building projects is by mere design. For starters, they are constructed from solid steel that is extremely robust and durable. Their rectangular shape means that the majority of the construction is already in place, even before modifications are made. This saves a lot of valuable time when it comes to modifying and refitting shipping containers.

Another very valid reason is that cargo containers are relatively cheap, even when you buy them new. The most common shipping container size is the 20 foot container, and this has proven to be one of the most common sizes used in the construction of homes and businesses. With the majority of the construction already complete in the form of the container, it becomes a very cheap way to build.

Shipping containers can be placed side by side, end to end, in an L shape, U shape, or even stacked one on top of the other. This creates versatility and flexibility in the design process, whether the project is a residential or commercial building. For architects and owners, shipping containers are somewhat of a dream building material.

With the home downsizing movement at full steam ahead, cargo containers are the ultimate choice for constructing tiny homes. People who wish to downsize often do so to save money. What better way to save than to build a small home from a shipping container?

How Cargotecture Helps the Environment

Around the world, millions of shipping containers sit unused. This is such a waste, but Cargotecture is changing the status quo. These containers are now being given a new lease on life with a brand new purpose.

Rather than shipping containers being dumped in landfill, or sitting somewhere on a dock or industrial estate and merely rusting away, they are being recycled and repurposed for practical uses. This spells fantastic news for the environment. After all, shipping containers are not small items. When abandoned, they consume a lot of space.

With the recycling of unused shipping containers, there is a lot less unnecessary waste on planet Earth.

In Conclusion

As you can see, Cargotecture is reshaping the construction industry. Shipping containers are a proven cost-effective and reliable building material, and their use in construction plays its part in helping conserve the planet as well.

Read more about Cargotecture at: 

Ashley Bryan lives in the Sunshine Coast and is an author, online marketer and content developer in Australia. He owns and operates WebsiteStrategies, a digital marketing firm, based in Queensland.