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Striking apartment building is made up of 140 shipping containers

A design to revitalize Johannesburg’s downtown

Green shipping container building on busy street All photos by Dave Southwood courtesy LOT-EK

We’ve seen shipping container buildings come in many many forms, and this one in Johannesburg, South Africa, is refreshingly straightforward. Architecture firm LOT-EK designed a six-story residential building from 140 upcycled shipping containers stacked on top of each other.

The architects split the complex into two sections—one blue, one green—that slant outward to create a triangular courtyard between them. Residents navigate the building through an open-air corridor that over looks the courtyard and is also used as communal balcony.

The apartments, which range from 300 to 600 square feet, are open plan with reclaimed wood floors and clean white walls. The container’s metal siding remains as the ceiling, giving the spaces an industrial feel.

Though the building is faithful to the shipping container aesthetic, all of the units have slanted cut-outs, which, besides serving as very cool angular windows, create a chevron pattern that manifests across the building’s facade.