Shipping container architecture may seem like old news to many, but the fact is that the ‘cargotecture’ phenomenon is increasingly popular with Australian buyers across all six states, who are looking for an alternative and affordable approach to home owning. They can be thrown up much faster than a conventionally built house and are often far cheaper.

Recycled Shipping Container Homes Help Put First-Time Buyers on the Property Ladder

Shipping container homes are increasingly being brought into the conversation with first home buyers due to a combination of fast-rising, Australian real estate prices and an ever increasing demand for a green, sustainable approach to housing, has led to more developers launching their own exciting ranges of modular, shipping container architecture projects. The challenge of modifying disused Conex boxes is being met by a rising number of architects and interior designers, who are busily creating some truly innovative, shipping container homes.

Conex Box Converted into Comfortable Queensland Home

Up in Kin Kin, Queensland, the appropriately named ‘Kin Kin Container House’, is an example of a small-scale project undertaken as a DIY project by its resourceful owner. Self-building projects are now made much easier, thanks to the ready availability of specialised kits and a plethora of useful information, including reference books and youtube videos on the subject of shipping container architecture.


Half of the Kin Kin project is comprised of a single Conex box, while the rest of the building is made up of various recycled or sustainable materials, to create a truly green and highly attractive dwelling, that is in keeping with its rural Queensland setting.

Shipping Container Architecture Creates Genuine Wow Factor

At the other end of the scale, customers with deeper pockets have been commissioning specialist shipping container architects and interior designers to build homes that are the epitome of luxury. A typical example is the Brisbane mansion built from no less than 31 steel shipping containers! This immense property covers over 700 square-metres and stands in an upmarket neighbourhood, just 8kms from the Brisbane CBD.


The corten steel shipping container superstructure is arranged over three distinct levels and includes cantilevered boxes, to increase visual impact and make smart use of the available space. The overall effect is so impressive that you soon forget that the house has basically been created using second-hand Conex boxes that have spent most of their lives travelling the oceans.

High-end fixtures and fittings have been used throughout, to achieve a premium feel. The master bedroom (one of four) takes up the whole upper level and, naturally, includes a luxury en suite bathroom with twin-sinks and a stunning, tiled mural. Other features include a large, open-plan kitchen/diner, an art studio, mezzanine reading room, gym and floodlit saltwater swimming-pool.


A Conex Box Home to Suit Every Budget

We’ve mentioned two extremes in shipping container architecture but the beauty of these modular building systems is in their inherent flexibility. Just like a giant Lego set, Conex boxes can be connected and extended horizontally or safely stacked several storeys high, using cranes or Hiab-equipped trucks.


You could invest in a cheap plot of land and a single 40-foot modified shipping container home, then expand by adding extra Conex box units, as and when you can afford it. This is of particular interest to young Australian couples, who plan to have children further down the line, when their incomes grow.

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