Gallery: Shipping Containers Transform Warehouse Into Office Space

orange county, shipping container, office space, shipping container office, reuse, recycled materials

After finding an affordable and convenient warehouse space in the industrial section of Santa Ana, Orange County, local printing company MVP decided to turn part of their premises into an office space. The warehouse wasn’t equipped to accommodate private offices, and the company felt that keeping the whole space climate-controlled would be wasteful, so they decided to group 10 20-foot shipping containers inside the warehouse to act as offices. The warehouse’s new industrial-chic workspaces proved to be an affordable option that continues to save the company on energy bills.

The bright red pods are grouped around a central courtyard with potted trees. They’ve cut out walls, added sliding glass doors, porthole windows, and individual A/C units. One of the containers was even turned into a kitchen (pictured above). Each office space was configured and furnished for a cost of about $3,000 to $4,000 each.

One benefit that has come from the new shipping container office space is a big reduction in the company’s electricity bills. “Our energy costs have dropped about three grand a month for heat and air conditioning,” said Keith Flanigan, owner of the company. “If everybody is not in the office, if they go to lunch, or they’re sick for a day, then the unit is turned off.” The new office pods put an end to the constant climate control skirmish. Now each office’s temperature can be individually controlled, and the savings are stacking up.

Although the warehouse offers limited natural daylight, we think the offices looks pretty hip to work in. Not to mention, the office pods are proving the feasibility and success of building green. As more attention is given to environmentally-sensitive materials, creative re-use of existing materials will prove to be beneficial to companies seeking to lighten their carbon footprint and reduce their expenses. We hope that other companies, like this one, will ask “what can we do differently with what we have, rather than going out and building a brand new building?”


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  1. amjadkd January 27, 2012 at 9:52 am


    Great idea.
    Im in the Middle East in Dubai and was wondering considering the hot climate we have here, how do i set up one in the open, outside? will i have to insulate them.
    I was also thinking of setting up a Market something like
    Set up containers in a U shape with shops selling craft etc. Any one can help me out with this idea?

  2. Capitalismrules21 July 27, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Your all hippies( the ones that don’t like the containers)These containers bring in everything you buy, including the car your driving( yes, even the girly Toyota hybrid). I think this idea is great and looks appealing too.

  3. Dave Albright November 6, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    I like this creativity. A really cool ‘recycling’ endeavor. If all these units contribute to a functional use for man kind and nature in even a minute way, we all win.

    Dave Albright

  4. juanjo October 24, 2009 at 4:16 am

    Good point…
    Although we are forgetting the amount of energy involved in the manufactoring process of the steel boxes. I am pretty sure they require a much greater amount per sq metre than a traditional construction. I will check it for you.

    The fact they are stacked in ports all around the globe, not only in the US, is for our greed. Exactly for the same reason for which we “stack” unused bank notes in the banks safety boxes. We could only use plastic cards, etc…

    Providing a new use for these “structures” is in no way a more efficient use for them. It is like re-inventing the wheel! In Spain we call it “searching for the cat’s fifth leg”, meaning we tend to mask things when we don’t have a propper explanation for a fact.

    We should stop manufactoring them in the first place. Thus, we would not have to re-invent o re-define an excuse for their propper “use”.

    Think about it…

    Best wishes

  5. jwh_arch October 22, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    I beg to differ. Surplus containers are stacked up in ports across the USA becuase we import much more than we export. They can be sourced easily and are very inexpensive considering they can be used as a structural component.

    Taking these discarded containers out of circulation is surely a more efficient use of resources than manufacturing steel, studs, drywall, wood, screws, etc to construct a similar structure as the container provides in it’s native form.

  6. juanjo October 15, 2009 at 5:18 am

    Great design and reclicling effort this about transforming shipping containers into individual office spaces.
    The truth is that eventhough the company might save on electricity bill (…could be done without the container use anyhow), I do not think there is a sustainable thought behind.

    When you take a shipping container out of its circulation (mainly because it is not suitable for its purpose any more…), another one is built to take its place in the shipping industry. With that, I mean the manufacturing process of a container does not have anything to do with sustainable methods whatsoever. Besides, they are built to be stacked and to store transportable materials. Never as re-designable objects in any case.

    It seems we aim at sustainable issues without sense these days…
    Best regards,

  7. phoester September 29, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    This is great! Very creative and well-implemented. They really brightened up a dull warehouse space.

    I love that they are saving 3 grand a month on their power bills. Since each “pod” cost only $3-4 grand to configure and furnish, the pods will pay for themselves in about a year…! And the savings will continue for many years after that. Good business move.

  8. mandarin September 29, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Thats a great idea especially for warehouse offices.

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