From Cargo to Creativity: How Shipping Containers Popped Off

Shipping containers are the unsung heroes of global trade, but what about their life after the sea? Over the years these sturdy steel boxes have found new life in unexpected, innovative ways. They’ve transformed the world of architecture, design, and urban living. Let’s explore the brief history of how storage containers gained popular use beyond shipping. 

A Humble Beginning

Double Office being hoisted with a crane.
Double Office being hoisted with a crane.

The history of shipping containers dates back to the late 1950s when an American entrepreneur named Malcom McLean revolutionized the transportation industry. We’ve got a blog post diving deeper into this topic here.

Shipping Containers as Construction Site Storage & Offices

This is ATR’s specialty! Not only do we offer containers for storing equipment, but we also converted a fleet of containers into jobsite offices! You could say that onsite storage containers led to the other innovations in this blog post. Perhaps a young entrepreneur was exploring the interior of a container and thought to himself, “Wow, you could fit a family in one of these!”

Emergence of the Container Architecture

You may have seen container “parks” or communities pop up in your area. This isn’t a new trend! The idea actually started in the 1970s & 1980s. Shipping containers started being mass produced and unused units were being repurposed for on-land use. This led to the rise of container architecture. Innovators took the opportunity to create affordable and sustainable structures, and their building blocks were made of steel boxes!

The Birth of Container Homes

different sizes of storage containers

In the early 2000s, the concept of tiny homes gained popularity, and shipping containers emerged as a perfect solution for compact and eco-friendly living spaces. With clever designs and an intelligent use of space, architects and homeowners began converting shipping containers into stylish and functional homes. These container homes offered an affordable and sustainable alternative to traditional housing, appealing to both minimalists and environmentally conscious individuals.

Shipping Containers as Retail Spaces


In recent years, shipping containers have become synonymous with trendy retail spaces. From bustling urban markets to beachside food stalls, these adaptable structures offer a cost-effective and eye-catching option for entrepreneurs. One of the largest container parks in the country is right here in Florida. Visit Krate in Wesley Chapel to see how shipping containers have evolved!

As container usage continues to progress, who knows what exciting uses the world will discover next for these iconic steel boxes? The possibilities seem endless! If this has inspired YOU to start your own container project OR if you’re about to start a construction project and need onsite storage, contact us today for a quote!