Gallery: Container Nation: Multi Family Housing in Utah


Container homes are popping up all over the place, but not many multi-unit developments have been built from containers. This proposed 200-unit apartment complex, designed by San Francisco-based Group 41 and their brainchild Container Nation, would use nearly 1,000 used shipping containers. The designers have developed two schemes for the Salt Lake City suburb complex and are waiting for planning approval. Two schemes differ in style and layout, but not amenities. Both include a large underground parking garage as well as a courtyard. Located near both a future commuter rail line and shopping center, the new development strives to have  sustainable written all over it.

Design A: Red Container Scheme

Design A: Red Container Scheme

Joel Karr, principal of Group 41, says that this design is a much simpler design concept, where the containers are simple stacked on top of one another, only slightly staggered to create a rhythm of open and closed spaces with ‘flying bridges’ that provide light and air into the interior of the corridors.” This concept is less costly to construct as the containers are stacked on top of each other like they are on a shipping container. A central courtyard is located inside, providing a sheltered and open common space.

Design A: Red Container Scheme

Design A: Red Container Scheme With Central Courtyard

Design B: Curve Scheme

Design B, or the Curve Scheme is clearly a more interesting concept architecturally, but also significantly more costly. The containers are staggered more, and stacked less. This stacking scheme would require more reinforcement and structural beams. Containers in this scheme can be arranged in a more varied form, even allowing curved balconies, corridors and common spaces. The large common space for this concept would be located on the west side of the building as opposed to the center.

So, which concept do you prefer?

+ Group 41

+ Container Nation

via ArchDaily and Jetson Green


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  1. danielfava April 28, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Great idea. Eco-friendly and ecomomically sustainable.

  2. Aya Elzeity February 19, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I love the idea and the overall composition even the colors! I think it’s brilliant, economical and even sustainable!

  3. jhahn May 20, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    I recenttly was attended a conference where i met the foundersccasc of VitaEspacios, a company out of Mexico City that is changing the way containers can be used in Mexico and the US. They offer a livable solution at a incredible fracttion of the cost of regular housing. Not only can the containers be used as housing but as schools, a major plus in heavily populated areas, and not to mention Doctors clinincs, another plus for any out of the way town or populated city.

    As many have experienced in the past few years natural disaster is becoming more of our foe than a friend. With the durability of the containers, transformed into any mobile office, school, shelter, etc. you are protected from the damages and casualties that may come.

    I really believe these guys are working to better their country and ours, from the heart for more information you can contact them at

  4. The Revolution Corporation April 13, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    Design-A is nice… Add some ground floor retail on the perimeter of the garage — A hardware store, a Garden of Eden type grocer, a Pinkberry, and some local flavor — and wallah a great project.

  5. wytetyger059 April 12, 2009 at 9:35 am

    I like A because of the courtyard. I think something could actually be done like this, and I’ve seen a lot of uglier buildings win design contests. Interesting concept.

  6. harrisonembrey April 12, 2009 at 3:52 am

    Yuk! Beauty is obviously in the eye of the beholder! Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!

  7. CosmicChuck April 12, 2009 at 12:37 am

    That’s definitely eco-friendly, especially design A, even though design B is a bit more aesthetic. With a nearby shopping mall and rail access, that is even better, especially if the apartment complex provides shuttle buses to go to the train depot and shopping mall.

  8. crackgerbal April 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Bleh! this design looks ugly! seriously hideous. You always here people talk about living in box like homes, well now here is your chance to make that pseudo dream a reality…

    I have an idea. lets cut up and melt the shipping containers into steel wide flange beams, and then build something that is aesthetically pleasing rather than this giant toy block home factory.

  9. mother April 10, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    is this project to be an island, unto itself?

    how about some street-level destinations such as shops & restaurants to give it a sense of place? otherwise, it’s just a people warehouse.

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