Architectural design comes in all forms. In the case of the newly opened IDA on McKinley apartment building, that form is six stories of steel shipping containers that make up commercial and residential space. 

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A business building set in a corner of an intersection

The build, designed by shipping container specialists at Local Studio, is the fifth container project by the firm and the tallest container structure in the country. Local Studio worked in collaboration with the city of Phoenix on the project to align with the city’s climate action plan, which includes more sustainable housing options. IDA provides ground-level commercial space along with 18 one and two-bedroom apartments. 

Related: Recycled shipping containers make up this off-grid retreat

A high-rise building set at a corner of an intersection

Not only does IDA prominently feature 822,000 pounds of recycled steel in the form of shipping containers, but the finished building showcases renewable energy through its 33-kilowatt-solar system. Solar panels double as a roof overhang and a shaded sidewalk alongside the building. Additionally the structure is equipped for rainwater harvesting with bioswales and a 3,000 gallon storage tank.  

Up-close photos of the beams and materials used

The surrounding landscaping features low-water-requirement desert plants and trees to offer shade along the street. To further adapt to the Arizona sun, heat-reflective paint was chosen to keep temperatures down and reduce energy consumption.

A corner of the building structure

IDA broke ground early in 2021 and is located on a small corner lot in the Roosevelt Row arts district. It’s equipped with an outdoor shower and e-bike charging station, as well as a bike repair station, to encourage commuting via bike. Moreover, the structure will serve as an architectural example for students, developers and employees of the city who are studying engineering, sustainability and shipping container design.

The IDA building lit up at night

“IDA on McKinley is an architectural feat, the nation’s tallest shipping container development, and an historic addition to downtown Phoenix,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “It is innovative in several ways: the reuse of shipping containers, and the novel way it adds shade to the right-of-way. These are the kinds of multi-layered approaches that will carry Phoenix toward its sustainable future.”

+ Local Studio 

Images via Local Studio