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Shipping Containers Make up This Sleek Japanese Kindergarten

The school includes a multi-purpose hall and courtyard

The shipping container seems infinitely adaptable, whether functioning as a standalone tiny home (or room), or as a section of a larger construction. It makes sense, then, that putting several of them together can also make for a forward-thinking school.

Japanese firms Hibinosekkei and Youji No Shiro built this kindergarten in Saitama, Japan, a suburb of Tokyo, using stacked shipping containers and adding warm wood paneling on the interiors and glass doors that open up to a central courtyard. A covered terrace offers shade from the sun, creating an indoor-outdoor space for the children.

Since the architects wanted to preserve the legacy of the school, which has been in the community for 50 years, they designed a building that put the environment and adaptive reuse at the center of their plans. Structurally reinforced to protect against earthquakes, the kindergarten also features planted areas that surround the site, as well as an all-purpose meeting hall and offices.