Religious Conversions: 15 Houses of Worship Turned Secular


[ By Steph in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

Converted Churches Secular Main

Transforming these fifteen churches, monasteries and synagogues into homes, libraries and nightclubs hasn’t put a damper on their sense of reverence and grandeur. Former houses of worship all over the world retain all of their awe-inspiring original architectural elements like vaulted ceilings, arches, altars and stained glass windows while adjusting to needs that are more mundane.

13th Century Church to Modern Library, Maastricht, Holland

Church Converted Library 1

Converted Church Library 2

A thirteenth-century Dominican church in Maastricht, Holland has been transformed into Selexyz Dominicanen, a massive bookstore. The 1,200-square-meter church will all of its elegant arches and vaults has been filled with a modern three-story volume containing row after row of books, to take advantage of the full height of the structure.

St. Jakobus Church to Home by Zecc Architects, The Netherlands

Converted Church Home Living Zecc 1

Converted Church Home Living Zecc 2

A modest, narrow chapel in The Netherlands that had fallen into disuse is now a private home. Like many other churches in the area, St. Jakobus was no longer needed for its intended purpose, so it was used as an antique store and even a meeting place for small concerts over the years. Then Zecc Architects came in, removed part of the mezzanine floor, painted nearly every surface stark white and inserted modular volume that provides enclosed rooms and a loft without compromising the grand feel of the space.

Gothic Monastery to Hotel, Maastricht, Holland

Converted Church Hotel

Travelers can take a different sort of comfort in a 15th century monastery in Maastricht than that for which it was originally built. The Crutched Friars is now the 60-room Kruisheren Hotel. The monastery houses the guest rooms, while the Gothic church contains the reception area, conference rooms, a library, a boutique and a coffee bar.

Ordinary Church Concealing Modern Home, Sydney, Australia

Converted Church Concealing Modern Home 1

Converted Church Concealing Modern Home 2

What appears to be an ordinary church in Sydney, Australia is actually a modern home. You wouldn’t guess from the outside that just within those walls is a light-filled living space with an indoor swimming pool, glazed walls and a marble commercial kitchen.

Anglican Church to Spirito Martini Bar, Brussels, Belgium

Converted CHurch Spirito Martini Bar

The Spirito-Martini is a luxurious hotspot in Brussels with three bars, five different lounges and a private room, all set within a former Anglican church. All of the major architectural elements of the church have been retained, including extravagant chandeliers. The designers outfitted the club in Victorian-style furniture, damask and dark wood.

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Secret Museum Hidden in an Abandoned Freight Elevator


[ By Steph in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

Abandoned Freight Car Museum 1

Unlike all of New York City’s flashy and well-known museums, this particular exhibition space is grungy, quirky and easy to miss. Located in an abandoned freight elevator on the edge of the Tribeca neighborhood in Manhattan, Museum measures just 80 square feet and is covered by a pair of unmarked, heavy iron doors when it’s closed. It contains collections of objects just as unconventional as the space itself.

Abandoned Freight Car Museum 2

Abandoned Freight Car Museum 3

As stark and unfussy as its name, Museum is intentionally hard to find. It’s only open to visitors on the weekend, but you can peer through a series of viewing windows to get a look at the contents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Photographer Garrett Ziegler captured these images of the space and its humorous, oddball display pieces.

Abandoned Freight Car Museum 4

The Museum exhibits consist of urban curiosities, found objects and funny vintage items in addition to art pieces. Want to know more about a particular piece? You can call a toll-free hotline (888-763-8839) and enter the item’s identification number (the exhibits change frequently, and are currently different than those pictured).

Abandoned Freight Car Museum 5

“Life exists all around us, and the proof of our existence is both beautiful and absurd. Our footprint, which is often overlooked, dismissed, or ignored, is intriguing, and always worth exploring.”

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War and Peace: 15 Repurposed Military Structures


[ By Steph in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

Repurposed Military Architecture Main

Once they were no longer needed as bunkers, flak towers, forts, airfields and barracks, these military structures sat empty and abandoned, a stark reminder of wars past and those that may occur in the future. But these structures were built to last, and now they serve surprising purposes – like climbing walls, aquariums, hotels, apartment buildings and night clubs.

Flak Towers in Germany – Climbing Walls

Repurposed Military Architecture Climbing Towers

Flak towers constructed in Germany and Austria on Adolf Hitler’s orders during World War II have been reclaimed as climbing walls, music schools, shops, nightclubs and even an aquarium. These extremely strong structures were built to counter airborne Allied forces, with concrete walls three meters thick. Their size and durability made them difficult to destroy after the war, and many stood empty and abandoned for decades. Climbing equipment enables visitors to scale the 47-meter-tall (154-foot) Haus des Meeres in Vienna; it was once crowned with a Wurzburg radar dome, and now contains thousands of sea creatures, including a 300,000-liter shark tank.

Airship Hangar – Water Park

Repurposed Military Architecture Hangar Water Park 1

Repurposed Military Architecture Hangar Water Park 2

The world’s largest freestanding building is an airship hangar built at an abandoned Soviet military base just south of Berlin. Measuring 1,181 feet long and 688 feet wide, the structure was created for the delivery of massive industrial machinery like wind turbines, but a Malaysian firm has converted it into something much more fun: a water park. Tropical Islands Resort contains a 3,000-square-yard swimming pool, 600 feet of sandy beach and 50,000 trees in 600 varieties.

Russian Bunker – Night Club

Repurposed Military Architecture Bunker Night Club

The 75,000-square-foot Taganskaya Protected Command Point in Russia was in military use from the 1950s to 1986, when it was abandoned. But in the early 2000s, a company purchased the disused subterranean space and transformed it into a Cold War Museum called Bunker 42, which includes a restaurant and night club.

Torpedo Facility – Private Residence

Repurposed Military Architecture Torpedo House

A former Cold War torpedo facility in a London suburb, once used to test submarine technology, is now a stunning round home. The structure once boasted a 160-foot-diameter dome covering a 120-foot-long, 15-foot-deep pool where model torpedoes and submarines were rotated on a large arm up to 150 feet per second. The domed structure had to be removed due to contamination, but the home still features a 4-foot-thick blast wall.

19th Century Gasometer – Apartment Building

Repurposed Military Architecture Gasometer

A 19th-century gasometer that was also used as an air raid shelter during World War II is now a luxury apartment building. The Fichte-Bunker in Berlin held gas for the city’s street lamps, but when they were switched to electricity in the 1920s, it was no longer needed for this purpose. The walls were reinforced with up to three meters of concrete for its use as a shelter, and 30,000 people allegedly took refuge there on February 3rd, 1945 despite its capacity of 6,000. Once the war was over, it was used as a homeless shelter for decades, and then held emergency supplies for the Cold War. The structure now holds thirteen two-story luxury condos with large grassy upper-level terraces.

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Waste Not: 1890s Urinal Turned into a Sandwich Shop


[ By Steph in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

Attendant Urinal Restaurant 2

Sit at a counter embedded into a wall of urinals and enjoy a nice sandwich at Attendant, an eatery in London built in a former men’s bathroom. While it’s virtually unrecognizable after an extensive $150,000 renovation, it’s hard to imagine how the owners were able to look into the trash-strewn pit of a subterranean restroom and think about food.

Attendant Urinal Restaurant 5

Attendant Urinal Restaurant 3

The Attendant restroom had been abandoned for more than fifty years before its two-year transformation. It now serves sandwiches, soup, breakfast, cakes and espresso drinks, with many ingredients plucked from the New Covent Garden Marketplace just down the street.

Attendant Urinal Restaurant 1

Attendant Urinal Restaurant 6

Attendant Urinal Restaurant 4

Partners Peter Tomlinson and Ben Russell removed 12 layers of paint dating back over a century from the ornate wrought iron entrance and removed a wall that separated the urinals from the attendant’s space. The urinals were polished, a counter was added and a kitchen was built. Green seating matches the original Victorian floor tiles.

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Abandoned No More: New Lives for 13 Disused Spaces

[ By Steph in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

While many abandoned places are ultimately demolished (and sometimes temporarily serve as settings for unexpected art installations), some get a second chance at life with restoration projects that transform them for new purposes. These 13 abandoned places, including zoos, bath houses, military compounds, railways and factories, now serve as libraries, galleries, offices, arts centers and private homes.

Contemporary Library in a Turkish Bath House

(images via: archdaily)

A beautiful rounded wooden library reminiscent of a seashell has been temporarily installed inside a once-abandoned Turkish bathhouse in Bulgaria. the ICONITemporary Library by Studio 8 1/2 contains nothing but books about contemporary art, with comfortable places to lounge, flip through the pages and gaze at the 16th century architecture.

Abandoned Walmart Turned America’s Largest Library

(images via:

Empty retail stores can be quite an eyesore, sitting vacant for months or even years. One such building has been completely transformed from a vacant Walmart in McAllen, Texas, to America’s largest library. Measuring 124,500 square feet, the single-floor library was painted in bright colors and renovated to include glass-enclosed spaces.

Zoo Turned Graffiti Gallery

(images via: street art museum)

An old zoo in Torino, Italy has become the Street Art Museum, with the former animal enclosures painted with often-surreal scenes. It’s part of the Border Land Project, an urban regeneration initiative that helps utilize and raise awareness about neglected spaces.

Gentlemen’s Club Turned Stylish Home

(images via: yatzer)

The Harmony Club was built in 1909, and operated as a social club for the Jewish community in Selma, Alabama, including a restaurant, a ballroom and an exclusive men’s lounge. It was turned into headquarters for the Elks Club in the 1930s, and boarded up in the ’60s. Today, it’s a luxurious home that retains many of the historical details, making it truly one-of-a-kind. See more photos at Yatzer.

Stable to Family Home

(images via: enpundit)

Architecture firm Abaton took a crumbling, centuries-old stone barn in the Spanish province of Caceres and rehabilitated it into a beautiful family home, with the haylofts becoming bedrooms. The large doors – two stories tall, in one case – were glassed in to create massive windows.

Catholic Chapel to Modern Home

(images via:  zecc architects)

An abandoned Catholic church is now a spacious, modern residence in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Zecc Architects carefully preserved the dramatic aspects of the church’s architecture with soaring ceilings, stained glass windows and even a dining table made from the preserved pews.

Taiwanese Military Barracks to Rainbow Village

(images via: riowang)

The local council in Taichung, Taiwan had decided to demolish the remains of an abandoned 1940s military encampment on the outskirts of its suburban community, but an elderly resident named Huang Yunfu had another idea. He covered the entire site in colorful pairings, turning it into an outdoor gallery. It’s now called ‘Rainbow Village.’

Beret Factory to Multimedia Center

(images via: inhabitat)

Would you guess that this incredibly modern-looking facility was once an abandoned beret factory? A riverside site that was recently little more than an industrial wasteland on the edge of the Pyrenees mountains in France is now a two-story multimedia center built on the original stone foundation with skylights and green terraces.

Garage to Madrid Hub Offices

(images via: fast co design)

Madrid architects Churtichaga + Quadra + Salcedo (CH +QS) turned an abandoned garage in the center of the city into a timeshare office, preserving the industrial character of the place while adding comfortable semi-private nooks, including an informal living room made of wood crates.

Silo to Climbing Gym

(images via: inhabitat)

After losing a competition to transform an abandoned sewage treatment silo in Amsterdam into a climbing gym, NL Architects may get a second chance. Developers in the area think that a third abandoned silo could be ideal for the project. The ‘Siloo O’ concept would create a world-class climbing and mountaineering facility that could become a major tourist attraction for climbers around the world.

Warehouse to Advertising Firm Headquarters

(images via:

Ad firm Wieden + Kennedy turned an old warehouse in Portland, Oregon into its new world headquarters, holding several hundred employees. Portland architecture firm Allied Works gave the building a new concrete interior and new stories, preserving some of the original timber.

Steel Factory to Arts Center

(images via:

Once the largest steel-producing facility in America, the old Bethlehem Steel building in Pennsylvania closed its doors in 1995 and remained abandoned for more than a decade. Spillman Farmer Architects converted the 68,000-square-foot space into the ArtsQuest Center, an art campus where the industrial aspects of the building are accented by the warmth of native Pennsylvania ash wood.

Railroad to Recreational Promenade

(images via: archdaily)

A retired railway between the towns of Albisola Superiore and Celle Ligure on the coast of Italy left a large stretch of the shoreline unused. 3S Studio and Voarino Cairo Voarino transformed the old promenade into a walking path using low-impact materials for a small environmental footprint.

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Remembered Spaces: Abandoned Buildings Transformed Into Art

When buildings are abandoned, they are often demolished and their parts sent to a landfill. One artist dismantles them piece by piece and preserves them in art. 6 Comments - Click Here to Read More »»

Abandoned Walmart is Now America’s Largest Library

A sprawling abandoned Walmart in McAllen, Texas has been transformed into the nation's largest public library, with self-check-out kiosks and an art gallery. 20 Comments - Click Here to Read More »»

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Rebuilding Infrastructure: Viaduct turned Holiday Home

[ By Steph in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Construction on the highway from Salerno to Reggio Calabria in Southern Italy began int he 1960s – and it’s still not finished. A stretch that has been abandoned for decades includes a viaduct with incredible wasted views of the mountainous countryside and the sea. The winners of a design competition to repurpose that viaduct have transformed it into a stunning vertical village of vacation homes.

French firms OFF Architecture, PR Architect and Samuel Nageotte took first place in the Solar Park South international design competition with ‘Solar Highway’, a concept that uses the massive pylons of the bridge as the basis of a sort of high-rise vacation complex in reverse – running from the horizontal surface of the bridge down to ground level.

The project was designed to use a low quantity of construction materials, encasing the existing support system using a ‘pile and deck’ technique to stack residential and commercial spaces on top of each other without disturbing the site. The vacation homes are aimed at Northern European snowbirds looking to enjoy Southern Italy’s warm, sunny weather in the winter.

The upper part of the bridge will become a pedestrian promenade, with lower decks offering roadways into neighboring towns – a feature that local residents, who have long been cut off by the delays on the highway, will no doubt appreciate. In between the houses, restaurants and shops will be recreational spaces like golfing greens. In addition, as Inhabitat points out, nearby Mt. Etna could provide the whole complex with geothermal power.

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Adaptive Reuse: 15 Creative House & Home Conversions

Billboards, fire towers, pig barns and factories are converted into stunning modern homes that preserve the history of the original structures. 14 Comments - Click Here to Read More »»

Grass-Covered Bridge in Amsterdam Doubles as Public Park

This proposal for a pedestrian bridge in Amsterdam doubles as a public park with wildlife, recreation, a cafe and even a sloped roof for sledding in winter. 1 Comment - Click Here to Read More »»

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Abandoned Walmart is Now America’s Largest Library

There are thousands of abandoned big box stores sitting empty all over America, including hundreds of former Walmart stores. With each store taking up enough space for 2.5 football fields, Walmart’s use of more than 698 million square feet of land in the U.S. is one of its biggest environmental impacts. But at least one of those buildings has been transformed into something arguably much more useful: the nation’s largest library.

Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle transformed an abandoned Walmart in McAllen, Texas, into a 124,500-square-foot public library, the largest single-floor public library in the United States.

The design won the International Interior Design Association’s 2012 Library Interior Design Competition. MSR stripped out the old ceiling and walls of the building, gave the perimeter walls and bare warehouse ceiling a coat of white paint, and set to work adding glass-enclosed spaces, bright architectural details and row after row of books.

The library even has an acoustically separated lounge for teens as well as 6 teen computer labs, 16 public meeting spaces, 14 public study rooms, 64 computer labs, 10 children’s computer labs and 2 genealogy computer labs. Other new features include self check-out units, an auditorium, an art gallery, a used bookstore and a cafe.

While you can still see hints of what the library once was in its sprawling shape and industrial ceilings, it seems like an entirely new space. According to PSFK, the library saw new user registration rise by 23% within the first month following the new library’s opening.

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7 (More) Abandoned Wonders of America: From Deserted Breweries to Famous Auto Factories

Much of America's little-remembered history can be found in largely unknown structures scattered across the United States, some of which are silently falling apart. 67 Comments - Click Here to Read More »»

Volumes of Vertigo: Crazy Sideways-Library-Shaped Cafe

You might feel a little dizzy when you walk into this Manhattan cafe, designed to look like a library that has been tipped on its side. 1 Comment - Click Here to Read More »»

Rustic Ruins to Modern Residences: 3 Barn Renovations

Aging barns are often left to simply deteriorate, the stone crumbling, weathered wooden siding falling to the ground.  But in their dramatic A-frame silhouettes and wide-open simplicity, some architects see the potential for a transformation into a modern, livable residential space. These three barn renovations rescued or recalled structures that were near complete destruction, preserving their history while giving them a greater purpose.

Wood-Slatted Barn Home by Kwint Architecten

The simple shape and wide, swinging doors of this stunning modern home are the only signal of what once stood in its place: an aging barn in Eelde, The Netherlands. Dutch architecture practice Kwint Architecten integrated the remains of an existing structure into a new home with a traditional gabled roof. The exterior is covered in wooden slats that provide privacy, shade and air circulation to a transitory space between the outside walls and the home’s interior.

These slatted walls open wide to allow sunlight to stream into the home. The combination of these elements blurs the lines between indoors and out, allowing full appreciation of the tranquil rural setting.

300-Year-Old Barn to Modern Residence by RRA Architects


A stunning 300-year-old stone barn in Hereford, United Kingdom is now a modern home with prefabricated interior spaces, a wooden addition and the integration of large glass windows to bring in more daylight. The Hillcott Barn by RRA Architects boasts an interior made of individual prefab pods which were constructed off-site and simply lowered into place in each room via crane. This method of construction not only saved the owners money, but helps preserve the original stone structure. The roof was also modified to improve ventilation and add more daylighting, and the barn door openings were fitted with large glass windows.

Italian Alps Barn Becomes Solar-Powered Retreat by EXiT Architetti Associati

In the Italian Alps, a rustic barn that is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site was carefully altered by EXiT Architetti Associati to transform it into a home while maintaining the historic integrity of the structure. Each beam and board of the barn was taken apart, cleaned and reassembled around a new metal frame, and solar panels were integrated into the roof. While the exterior looks much the same as it did before the renovation, the interior has been opened up with an airy modern floor plan and the addition of painted white walls and black steel beams.

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Creative Coverage: New Roof Preserves Archaeological Ruins

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Water Villas: 3 Modern House Boats in Urban Settings

Urban house boats are the best of both worlds, providing a private getaway with views of the water yet docked just steps from the excitement of the city. 5 Comments - Click Here to Read More »»

Underground Art: The Repurposed Oil Tanks at Tate Modern

[ By Steph in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

Once a power station, now a repository for some of the world’s most innovative art: the expansion of the Tate Modern art museum in London is repurposing industrial infrastructure in surprising ways. And while the bulk of it is still under construction, set to open in 2016, the museum has opened the doors to the first phase. Herzog & de Meuron has transformed the enormous oil tanks of the power station into underground galleries.

Measuring nearly 100 feet across and 23 feet in height, the oil tanks have been unused since the power station was decommissioned. Now, they function as a stark, rough venue for live performance art, which is often interactive in nature and resists the commodification of the art world in that it can’t be bought off its wall or pedestal and moved into a permanent collection.

The tanks represent just a small part of the renovation, which will expand the Tate’s exhibition space by nearly 70%. The other elements, including above-ground construction and addition concrete and steel underground spaces, will open in 2016. Herzog & de Meuron, along with the Tate Modern, have expressed a desire to fuse the extension with the power station’s past and history.

“The Tanks and Transformers galleries are the opposite of the white box gallery, spaces where you are aware that you are underground, rich with texture and history, and uncompromisingly direct and raw, providing the viewer, artist and curator with new and different contexts and experiences completing the variety of spaces for art in the Tate Modern Project,” say the architects.

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Urban Reuse Goes Underground: Subterranean Community Park

A long-abandoned underground space may soon be turned into a subterranean version of the High Line park, complete with high-tech sunlight harvesting. 5 Comments - Click Here to Read More »»

Stacking in Style: New Trend Puts Houses on Houses

These three structures couldn't be more different in all ways except one: they all look like individual houses piled on top of each other into vertical towers. Click Here to Read More »»

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Modular Madness: 23 Diverse Deployments of Cargo Containers

[ By Steph in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

Portable, durable, stackable and readily available all over the world, shipping containers are the ideal building blocks for smart structures of practically every variety. Some require just a little bit of renovation to transform into tiny houses or mobile offices, and others are barely recognizable. Often left with their exteriors as-is to pay tribute to their industrial origins, shipping containers can be used to form exterior walls and integrated into other types of building materials. Here are 23 examples of shipping container architecture in the form of homes, schools, offices, retail stores, hotels and restaurants.


Two-Tree House by Golany Architects (image via: treehugger)

Project ARQtainer (images via:

Decameron/Marcio Kogan (images via: archdaily)

Colorado Home by Studio H:T (images via: archdaily)

Dark and tightly enclosed, shipping containers may not seem like a fitting material for a comfortable home, but architects and home builders are transforming them in a variety of surprising ways. Take Golany Architects’ Two-Tree House, in which a shipping container was integrated into a design that accommodates two large existing Jerusalem pines on the building site. Aside from the shape, you’d never guess that the basis of the home is a shipping crate, especially since it has been covered in warm and welcoming timber cladding.

Five bright yellow steel shipping containers were combined into a large and light-filled home in Santiago, Chile. Project ARQtainer is an earthquake-resistant, low-cost home that makes use of the strength, durability, stackability, modular form and ready availability of shipping containers. Another shipping container home in Sao Paulo, Brazil by Marcio Kogan employs the stackability to fit a spacious home into a small plot of land, painting each one a bright shade.

And in Nederland, Colorado, an unusual home by Studio H:T places two shipping containers on either side of a taller volume for 1,517 total square feet and an exterior that blends nicely into the landscape.


Vissershok School (image via: archdaily)

Morpeth School (images via: container city)

Dunraven Sports Hall (image via: archdaily)

Fawood Children’s Center (images via: arcspace)

With cramped budgets, rapidly deteriorating structures and growing populations but little space to expand, many schools across the globe turn to low-cost, portable structures. But the prefabricated classrooms typically used by school systems are often lacking in the design department. Shipping containers offer an ideal alternative. For example, the Vissershok Primary School in South Africa has a container classroom that hosts 25 students, adding a secondary roof for cooling and integrating an attached play area. The Morpeth School in London is very similar, but with multiple stacked containers.

Three walls of stacked shipping containers come together with a fourth translucent polycarbonate wall to create an eye-catching, bright and low-cost sports hall for the students of Dunraven secondary school in London. Interior cutaways on the containers turn them into balconies, while exterior cutaways let in sunshine.

At the Fawood Children’s Center in London, shipping containers are connected with walkways and stairs for a large complex with a nursery, adult education center and offices.


PUMA City (images via: archdaily)

DeKalb Market (images via: architizer)

Stockbox (images via: design boom)

Re:START Mall (images via: inhabitat)

Whether mobile or stationary, shipping containers are also a great starting point for retail stores small and large. PUMA City is an excellent example of creative deployment of these crates. Architecture office LOT-EK stacked 24 containers to create a 3-story store with a bar/lounge area and 2 decks – and best of all, it’s easily disassembled so the store can travel around the world.

Brooklyn’s DeKalb Market is made from 22 salvaged shipping containers, bringing local entrepreneurs together into an outdoor market with shops, restaurants and cafes. Most of the containers have been left in their original state on the outside, paying tribute to the history of the commercial port location.

Shipping containers are also a smart way to bring small markets into urban food deserts, where convenience stores are often the only source of food. Stockbox offers essential grocery items and fresh produce, and can easily be set up in the parking lot of an existing business.

In New Zealand, shipping containers enabled rapid construction of a mall after many structures were destroyed in a devastating earthquake. The pedestrian shopping mall consists of stacked, brightly colored crates holding 27 stores.


Cargo/group8 (images via: archdaily)

Platoon by Kunsthalle Graft (images via: archdaily)

Lafayette Street Offices (images via: container city)

Off-Grid SPACE office (image via: designboom)

16 recycled shipping containers create individual private offices within a large white space in the Geneva headquarters of design collective group8. The rustic, industrial nature of the crates contrasts with their glossy modern surroundings. For PLATOON KUNSTHALLE in South Korea, 28 crates were stacked to create the exterior walls of a large communicate platform for subcultural creative fields, and many of the crates were given an entirely transparent wall to combat the dark, enclosed environment.

Bright red shipping containers contrast with brick historical buildings on Lafayette Street in New York City. Designed by Urban Space Management, this concept was proposed to add office space to the block, but it’s not clear whether it will ever actually be built.

On a smaller scale, Houston-based architecture practice Metalab demonstrates how individual shipping containers can serve as mobile, off-grid offices. ‘SPACE’ (solar powered adaptive containers for everyone) is a prototypical adaptation featuring a fold-out solar rack system with 20 solar panels on the roof.


Travelodge Travelpod (images via: travelodge)

Travelodge Shipping Container Hotel (images via: world architecture news)

Luxury Hotel in China (images via: inhabitat)

25hours Hotel in Berlin (images via: dezeen)

While Travelodge’s ‘Travelpod’ hotel room concept wasn’t actually made from a recycled shipping container, it certainly could be – and promotes some intriguing ideas for rentable traveling spaces that can be carried on trucks and ships or placed on location at festivals. But the hotel chain did employ shipping crates for its hotel in Uxbridge, England. The completed design is made from 86 prefabricated shipping crates, which were retrofitted into bedrooms and bolted into a steel frame. This means that when the hotel needs to be remodeled, switching out the rooms will be fast and easy.

Set to open in August 2012, China’s five-star Xiang Xiang Xiang Pray House Hotel is made entirely from shipping containers. It doesn’t look like much on the outside, but each of the individual containers has been fitted with a luxurious blend of traditional Chinese and modern decor.

In Berlin, several weathered shipping crates were worked into the design of the 25hours Hotel. Stephen Williams Associates designed the hotel to capture the feel of a shipping warehouse with guest rooms as intimate as ship cabins. In this sense, the crates are used to impart a certain ambiance in fitting with a theme. In fact, the designers boast, “The ‘Hafen Sauna’ is on the rooftop built within a rusty container with panoramic views over the industrial harbor. It is the furthest from wellness that one could imagine.”


Wahacas (images via: dezeen)

Del Popolo (images via: inhabitat)

Starbucks Seattle (images via: smart planet)

8 stacked shipping crates in relaxing pastel colors draw hungry passersby into the new Wahaca mexican restaurant at the Southbank Center in London. The crates create a two-story structure with a central glass atrium and a cantilevered top story that provides a view of the Thames River.

Another restaurant, Del Popolo, uses the compact portability of a shipping container to take its pizza on the go. The traveling restaurant has a glass wall so diners can watch as their pizza emerges with cheese bubbling from a traditional 8,000-pound wood-fired oven.

Even larger chains like Starbucks are taking advantage of the shipping container craze. The coffee giant just opened a new location outside of Seattle that’s made from four crates. The small size may disappoint coffeehouse loungers armed with laptops, however: it’s walk-up or drive-through only.

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10 Clever Architectural Creations Using Cargo Containers: Shipping Container Homes and Offices

Cargo containers are of increasing interest to architects who plan to make them into homes, offices and other buildings through simple modifications and conversions. 47 Comments - Click Here to Read More »»

18 Super Shipping Container Schools, Youth Centers and Hotels

After seeing the success of other shipping container construction projects, schools and hotels are getting in on the money- and time-saving cargotecture method. 3 Comments - Click Here to Read More »»

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