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Shipping container architecture is a form of architecture using steel intermodal containers (shipping containers) as structural element, because of their inherent strength, wide availability and relatively low cost.

Advantages

Strength and durability

Shipping containers are in many ways an ideal building material. They are designed to carry heavy loads and support heavy loads when they are stacked in high columns. They are also designed to resist harsh environments – they are transported globally on ocean going vessels or can be covered in road salt when transported on roads.

Modular

All shipping containers are made to the same standard measurements and as such they provide modular elements that can be combined into larger structures. This simplifies design, planning and transport. As they are already designed to interlock for ease of mobility during transportation, structural construction is completed by simply emplacing them. Due to the containers’ modular design additional construction is as easy as stacking more containers. They can be stacked up to 12 high when empty.

Advantages Continued

Transport

Pre-fabricated modules can also be easily transported by ship, truck or rail, because they already conform to standard shipping sizes.

Availability

Used shipping containers are available across the globe. In cases where a company or country receives more containers than it can use to ship in the return directions these containers have no real use, since it is not cost effective to return empty containers to their origin.

Cost

Many used containers are available at a cost that is low compared to a finished structure built by other labor-intensive means such as bricks and mortar — which also require larger more expensive foundations.
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