A while back on an overcast Sunday, I holed up inside and watched episode after episode of Top of the Lake (think Twin Peaks set in New Zealand). In Jane Campion's compelling drama, a group of women set up a camp called Paradise made from shipping containers set on the edge of the lake. We like the idea of a shipping container as vacation getaway—it's mobile, inexpensive, and an example of creative reuse at its finest. We've rounded up our 10 favorite houses (plus a swimming pool) made from shipping containers.
Above: A guest house/garden retreat/playhouse made from a repurposed steel shipping container by Jim Poteet of Poteet Architects in San Antonio, Texas. For more on the project, see our Q & A with Poteet in The Architect Is In: Container as Guest House.
Above: The Oakland, CA, home of architect Stephen Shoup of building Lab inc. has an attached office space for the firm's staff built from a 3- by 6-foot shipping container. For more, visit Dwell story, Creative Re-Use in Oakland; photography by Aya Brackett for Dwell.
Above: A container functions as a pool in the center of Container City, a project designed by Urban Space Management along London's Trinity Buoy Wharf.
Above: Overlooking Loch Long on the Rosneath Peninsula in Scotland is Cove Park, a group of artist residencies designed by Edo Architecture set into 60 acres of hillside. Six containers welded together and planted with green rooftops form three accommodation units.
Above: A pop-up hotel called Sleeping Around travels the globe according to demand. The hotel is comprised of seven retired shipping containers kitted out with their own water system and potential to use solar or wind energy. Once settled in a location, the rooms can be set up and fully functional within five hours. For more on the hotel, visit Design Boom.
Above: Using a stray shipping container and timber from old weapons boxes, architect Damith Premathilake built his holiday cabana at Maduru Oya in Sri Lanka. Photograph by Logan MacDougall Pope for Inhabitat.
Above: Maziar Behrooz Architecture's Insta-House is a prefab container art studio made up of four 8-by-40-foot containers covering 960 square feet. The two-story live/work space can be erected in one week with prices starting at $99,800. The house shown here is tucked away in the Hamptons.
Above: A bach (meaning vacation cabin; it's short for "bachelor pad") in New Zealand designed by Atelier Workshop. The container has built-in wood paneling, a foldout terrace, and bunk beds—all that and it's meant to be mobile. For more, see A Shipping Container Transformed into the Ultimate Holiday House.
Above: Prefab houses from MEKA (Modular, Environmental, Kinetic, Assembly) made from steel shipping containers, cedar wood paneling, double- glazed argon-filled windows, a bamboo interior, and slate bathroom; four different design options range from $40,000 to $135,000.
Above: Designed by architects Severo Fernandez and Basilio Rodriguez of Estudio Base, a cargo container house sits on a flat site in the Galician countryside of Spain.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on July 3, 2012 as part of our Made in America issue.