Container Studio by MB Architecture


New York studio MB Architecture have completed an art studio in the woods made of two steel shipping containers in Amagansett, New York.

Called Container Studio, the structure features two containers positioned next to each other on a foundation wall, within which a basement has been created.

The height of the space was increased by cutting away most of the floor of the containers, connecting them with the basement space beneath.

Above photograph is by Francine Fleischer.

Glass façades seal the containers at either end.

Photographs are by Dalton Portella unless otherwise stated.

Here's some information from the architect:

Art Studio - Amagansett, NY

The client needed an art studio close to her house (which we renovated in 2008).

Above photograph is by Francine Fleischer.

Her requirements were for a space of about 700 sf and a stringent budget of $60,000; and for a simple structure that would be both inviting and reflective.

Above photograph is by Francine Fleischer.

Our solution was to use two 9’-6” x 40’ x 8’ shipping containers (cost: $2,500 each, delivered) perched over a 9’ foundation wall/cellar.

Above photograph is by Francine Fleischer.

By cutting 75% of the floor of the containers, we were able to move the painting studio to a lower level via a wide staircase and take advantage of a high ceiling.

The staircase itself acts as a transitional space for viewing art work.

The upper floor provides a more intimate work area and a sitting area.

The containers were painted dark charcoal to maintain continuity with the original house and to recede in the shadows of a dense wooded site.

The total area of the studio is 840 sf and the final cost was $58,000.

See also:


Peña Blanca by
DCPP Arquitectos
OceanScope by
AnL Studio
Pandora by
Sander Mulder

Posted on Monday May 31st 2010 at 2:21 pm by Catherine Warmann. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Yaknee

    I want one for my home studio ! No more neighborhood issues ! :)

  • martino

    seen from the inside, these are not containers…

  • How were the sidewalls and roof insulated and finished with what specific material? How was the space conditioned?

    I have 3 of these sitting empty at my shop and would like to make one into a showroom.

  • Martino -Yes they are. If you look at the axonometric diagram above (bird’s eye view), you can clearly see where the containers stop and the foundation begins.

  • Excellent idea! I have some friends on remote islands that use containers for storage but this is the BEST! By the way, I love your blog!

  • Don

    At about $69 per square foot, this is not too bad for finished custom construction. Owner builders using containers report finished habitable square footage as low as about $10 per square foot.

    For readers looking for more info about building with containers, there is TONS of info on the net, as this is nothing new for much of the world. Indeed besides homes, containers have been used to build expos, schools, hotels, military housing and shopping centers… to name just a few of their repurposed uses in the recent past.

    One such site for container info you can start at (and there are MANY) is Click on the “containerbay” link there and that will get you started.

  • This Studio is simply fabulous…I have been talking about cargo containers for ever it seems…….Plus I was very impressed with the “affordable” cost to build.

  • Eclipse Projects

    Couple of questions, what is the position of the building inspection department/ officials regarding engineering and/or liability for complete changes to the original structural value of the containters? I can see the economy if one could plasma cut/re-weld to suit however where I am I can see this component of job cost pushing it past cost of stickframe say, on comparable. next question, how was this insulated, assuming closed cell spray foam? GWB attached to furring/steel track? Is the “beam” shown through the open area actually welded joints of a non-removed structural portion of the containers? is very very interesting..

  • This is so innovative, such an important use of resources.

  • arianadourre

    Great design and material choice. The interior is nothing like a container. Beautiful.

  • Tiff

    This would make an amazing small home. I’m picturing it with the main entrance on the lower level. The main space for a small kitchen/living/dining room and upstairs as a sleeping area. The storage area for bathroom and laundry.

    I bet if someone did much of the work themselves and kept the finishes simple; a beautiful, fully outfitted home could be created on the same budget.