I love to see innovation. It’s amazing to see someone take an ordinary object and turn it completely on its head. I have seen people use cardboard to make amazing shelves. I have even seen plastic bottles used to make greenhouses. I have never heard of using shipping containers to build entire houses or cities.
Okay, so I may be behind the times. This Fall, in downtown Las Vegas, there will be a new shopping center named Downtown Container Park. This park will be an open air venue where people can shop for clothing, food, and other things. Visitors will also have a community space to hang out and even let their children play in a special area. The kicker is that all of the buildings are made from recycled trucking shipping containers.
The idea to use shipping containers as stores or dwellings is not a new invention. In fact, Cholula, Mexico has a container city of about 50 containers.That surprised me when I found it, but something even more amazing emerged in my search. A lot of great things come from Kyrgyzstan, right?
Okay, maybe an overstatement, but there is a massive city there made with over 7,000 containers! It’s a city of commerce, and it has been there since the 1990s.
Why is the Las Vegas story worth mentioning then? Shipping containers have been used on construction sites, for firefighter training, and even for housing. The Las Vegas Downtown Container Park is one of the largest projects that utilize containers in the United States for shopping and entertainment. It is part of a popular rise in the use of containers as architecture.
The fact that we can now use recycled containers in the heart of Las Vegas (and make them look good!) means the architecture is not just a fad. It is becoming an option for more and more people. At first I thought they were extremely ugly, but a few examples, such as the complex in London, showed me how artful it actually could be.