written by:
photos by:
December 15, 2015
Containers on Grand puts Phoenix in the vanguard of shipping container rental housing. To see more shipping container architecture, pick up our issue dedicated to prefab, on newsstands now.
Containers on Grand exterior

The eight container apartments, huddled together in a wise use of the space, are situated on an old used car lot in downtown Phoenix. A decommissioned container costs between $1,800 and $5,000, says architect Wesley James. Transportation, handling, and site assembly run at least as much.

Photo by 
1 / 8
Containers on Grand courtyard

The apartments face a landscaped common courtyard. The site is an irregular trapezoid, a fact the zig-zagging sidewalks reflect well.

Photo by 
2 / 8
Containers on Grand floor-to-ceiling windows

Floor-to-ceiling windows front each unit, with sections of container wall folded out and fixed in place as part of the shading strategy.

Photo by 
3 / 8
Containers on Grand exterior staircase

The containers are fused side-by-side, giving each apartment a 16-foot width. They are then stacked in four pairs with wrought, industrial-style exterior staircases in-between. To spare living space and installation headaches, a cinder block core houses utilities and a bathroom for each unit.

Photo by 
4 / 8
Containers on Grand living room with hardwood flooring

The living room of an unoccupied apartment showcases refinished original hardwood flooring. The joint between the two containers is left exposed.

Photo by 
5 / 8
Containers on Grand furnished living room

The lone furnished unit, which is slated to be an Airbnb rental, features a RAR rocker and two LCW chairs by Charles and Ray Eames. 

Photo by 
6 / 8
Containers on Grand galley kitchen

The galley kitchen, which includes a washer/dryer combo, separates the living room and bedroom. 

Photo by 
7 / 8
Containers on Grand bedroom

Nine-foot ceilings, white walls, and IKEA furniture define the bedroom, located at the back of the container. 

Photo by 
8 / 8
Containers on Grand exterior

The eight container apartments, huddled together in a wise use of the space, are situated on an old used car lot in downtown Phoenix. A decommissioned container costs between $1,800 and $5,000, says architect Wesley James. Transportation, handling, and site assembly run at least as much.

A rare multi-unit shipping container building is ready for occupancy in downtown Phoenix. Containers on Grand, designed and built by StarkJames, forges eight one-bedroom apartments out of 16 standard 40-foot-by-8-foot containers.

Hundreds of thousands of shipping containers sit idle in port cities, prompting their rediscovery by architects as a highly dynamic and interchangeable medium. But, says architect Wesley James, they are usually applied to single-family homes.

“Containers aren’t expensive or difficult to work with in and of themselves,” says James. “But it gets expensive and complicated bringing them up to code. It’s not yet an accepted building material.” Extra caution was taken during planning to satisfy codes. The containers were then joined and retrofitted with insulation, wiring, plumbing, windows, and drywall.

The apartments are 740 square feet and will rent for about $1,000 a month, beginning December 28. “We’re proud to have kept costs in line with conventional construction," James notes. "It’s enabled rents to be at or even slightly below market-rate for the area."

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016