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From Dallas to Waco, Texas, Shipping Containers Deliver Unique Benefits


The Dallas-Fort Worth region is home to the Cowboys, Exxon Mobil, Texas Instruments, Southwest Airlines and other big businesses. It’s also becoming a hotbed for shipping container architecture as individuals and commercial businesses gravitate toward re-purposing used containers for a variety of building projects and storage facilities.
Not only are shipping containers durable, cost-effective and customizable, but they also offer unique architectural integrity and style. Whether used for multi-family housing, home offices, rental properties or self-storage units, shipping containers bring their own style.

Here are some unique ways shipping containers are being used around the Dallas-Fort Worth region in towns like Waco, Irving, Richardson, Frisco and Garland.

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Shipping container apartment complex in southeast Dallas

Merriman Anderson/Architects, designer of several historic building restorations in the Dallas area, recently took on a unique housing project to help tackle the issue of affordable housing limitations in the city.

The company teamed up with local non-profit firm CitySquare Housing to design the Lomax Container Housing Project on South Malcolm X Boulevard in southeast Dallas. The 19, one-bedroom affordable housing units are made out of repurposed 300-square-foot shipping containers. The compact rental units have a living area located in front of a kitchen, a bathroom and a single bedroom.

The Lomax Container Housing Project is a prototype that CitySquare Housing intends to build at Dallas’s strategic locations. The goal is to move on to larger sites that will feature 100 to 130 units.

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Rental property in Waco, Texas built with re-purposed shipping containers

CargoHome, a family-owned builder in Elm Mott, Texas (8 miles north of Waco) tapped into two design trends with its short-term rental property in Waco - a shipping container and tiny home - wrapped into a single package. The property, named “Helm” is built from two refurbished shipping containers — one 40 feet, one 20 feet — stacked on top of each other to create a double-height tiny home with a walk-out terrace. 

The designers built a sliding door into the end of the larger ground floor shipping container, which leads to a narrow and lengthy living room. There’s a dining area with a built-in table that connects to a kitchen with plenty of shelving and storage space. At the opposite end of the ground floor, a bedroom is tucked into a sunny nook where a sofa transforms into a pull-out bed.

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Shipping containers used to build backyard office in Richardson, Texas

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, anyone who could work from home probably was. That shift in work model sparked an idea for self-taught design and construction engineer Eric Benavides. Through his business located in Richardson, Texas (just south of Plano), he wanted to develop a space for remote workers where they could work in peace and avoid unexpected interruptions. 

Hence the idea of “Backyard Workroom” was born. The unique prefab shed resembles a tiny house and comes in a variety of sizes — from 10×10 to 10×20 —and styles from traditional to contemporary. But it’s not just for an office – it can also be used as a workout room, a playroom, or a yoga studio. 

What makes it most unique is that it’s constructed using shipping containers

“What this taught me is that people are after that upcycling type of product or the cool product. I have dealt with shipping containers before in the construction business. We would use them for storage or a makeshift office. So, the shipping container was really me trying to find what an upcycling niche would look like.”

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Shared Studios uses shipping containers to construct Dallas portal

Shipping containers are transported all around the world. They travel to places most of us will never go. So, it’s fitting that Shared Studios, a non-profit organization, is using them to make the world a little bit smaller by connecting people who may otherwise never get the chance to meet. 

At Bonton Farms, a 40-acre urban farm, market and café in an area south of downtown Dallas, Shared Studios set up shipping containers, also called portals, for visitors to walk inside and connect with people around the world via a video screen and internet connection.

The pop-up Dallas_Portal has also been at Klyde Warren Park and NorthPark Center in Dallas. The “shipping container theater” allows students and others to communicate with others around the world.

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All around the United States, including the Dallas-Fort Worth area, businesses and commercial developers are tapping into the benefits of using shipping containers as part of their projects. 

Learn how you can include shipping containers in your next building project in southeast Texas or elsewhere in the state, by checking out our shipping container inventory here