Shipping Container Construction: A New Take on Modularity

Three Squared and other developers are using containers, which are built of steel and wood, as the primary framing material for new construction. They are stackable, durable, versatile, widely available and code-friendly.

An estimated 21,000 shipping containers arrive in the U.S. every day. Many originate in China and are only used once on their maiden voyage to the U.S. because it’s cheaper to continue building new ones than to ship them back for reuse. According to port authority data, over 700,000 used containers are stockpiled on prime waterfront real estate without a significant purpose or method of disposal. They are an abundant—and under-utilized—resource. But in the spirt of “reduce, reuse, recycle” these containers are being given a new role as modular construction building blocks by real estate developers and their design teams. In Amsterdam an entire container village—Keetwonen”—has been built by Tempohousing.

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