Cedar-clad shipping container becomes architect's home office

Eva Peters
© Eva Peters

This architect converted a shipping container to accommodate an expanding office.

When you work from home, it's helpful to have your own workspace if you're hoping to get any kind of work done. Based out of Westminster, British Columbia, Canadian architect Randy Bens opted to convert a shipping container into a home office in his backyard, rather than renting an office space elsewhere.

Eva Peters© Eva Peters
After having worked at home for over a decade, Bens wanted to find an option that would not require a long commute. As he tells Dwell:

The goal was to have the benefits of working from home while having an independent space for staff, a place to conduct meetings with clients and contractors, and to simply have more room to do our work.

Eva Peters© Eva Peters

Eva Peters© Eva Peters

After exploring other possibilities, Bens decided that refurbishing a shipping container was the best way to go, as they are modular and can be transported to another spot if needed. Built for USD $200,000, the 40-foot long, 11.5-foot wide, and 9.5-foot high, 350-square-foot container-office was originally designed for mining operations, but now includes office space for three employees, a kitchenette, bathroom and a conference area for meeting with clients.

Eva Peters© Eva Peters

Set on top of a small concrete foundation, it appears that the heavy shipping container is floating above the ground. The outside is clad with yellow cedar that will gain a grey patina as it ages; not only does it give it a more natural look, it also satisfies a city regulation that all shipping containers must be covered up. This warmth of the wood is contrasted with the oxidized steel steps that lead up to the interior.

Eva Peters© Eva Peters

Eva Peters© Eva Peters

Eva Peters© Eva Peters

Eva Peters© Eva Peters

The inside is clad with warm-toned birch plywood, and features a 19-foot-long continuous desk made from Douglas fir, and there's plenty of storage above the desk as well. There's also a bathroom with a space-efficient all-in-one sink and toilet.

Eva Peters© Eva Peters

Eva Peters© Eva Peters

Eva Peters© Eva Peters

The shipping container is insulated, and there is a small air-conditioning unit that helps keep it cool in the summer. The structure was 95 percent built out at the factory before it was crane-lifted in to place, and it's currently hooked up to the main house for water, electricity and Internet. Not surprisingly, having a office steps away from home has its benefits, and the neighbours apparently approve of it too, says Bens:

The reaction to the project has been universal in the neighborhood and from visitors -- everyone loves it. There is something about small buildings that most people find appealing. It has turned out to be a pleasant place to work.

Eva Peters© Eva Peters

Seems like a comfortable, easy way to burn the midnight oil, indeed; to see more, visit Instagram and Randy Bens.

Cedar-clad shipping container becomes architect's home office
This architect converted a shipping container to accommodate an expanding office.

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