Five Shipping Containers Combined to Create a Modernist Home

The home that AB Design Studio devised on a sloping site in the foothills of Santa Barbara, California, is nothing short of a triple-threat: It’s largely prefabricated; it incorporates recycled material; and it presents as an elegant display of modernism. Indeed, the house has an impressive list of attributes, but its most compelling element is the use of five shipping containers. It’s about going back to the modernist movement and identifying exactly what people need to be comfortable, without adding a bunch of square footage and grandeur. But it’s also about accomplishing that authenticity in the most environmentally efficient way possible.

They placed four containers on top of a pavilion-like construction made of glass, steel, and concrete that then became the lower level of the house. The final container became part of the kitchen area, and created a home that did not hide, but rather integrated the shipping containers, and AB Design figured out how to integrate the containers into a modernist design. That was the goal, for the containers to be part of the experience and not just covered up.