Did a children’s book inspire this new architectural craze?

You may or may not remember the children’s book series The Boxcar Children. If you are a Harry Potter kid, then the Boxcar stories were your parent’s generation and if you are A Series of Unfortunate Events kid, you can ask your grandparent about the popular books. The Boxcar Children preceded NCIS and most of the other cool detectives you’ve heard about. The best part about the book’s heroes: they were kids! It was every kid’s fantasy — the four heroes were always saving themselves while getting the bad guy. The adults were always several steps behind, not “getting it.” Other than the fact that they were orphans and had no place to live, it sounded like a great life.

The mysterious part was that these kids lived in an abandoned Boxcar — think railroad car that isn’t going anywhere. The boxcar was their secret hideout, and it seemed way more realistic than the Batcave. Most of us could actually see ourselves living in the boxcar. You’d think an architect, inspired by the Boxcar Children series, might be the one responsible for the latest building trend: storage container construction. Have you heard about this?

If you live near any big city, you may have seen a trendy business housed in a storage container. Maybe you looked twice, maybe you didn’t even notice, but commercially these buildings are popping up everywhere. There’s El Rey Taqueria in Washington D.C., the BoxPark Mall in London, the Evergreen Brickworks, in Toronto, and you might see the Del Popolo Pizza Truck driving around if you are ever in the San Francisco Bay Area. Yes, there is actually a shipping container atop a freightliner truck doubling as a Pizza Kitchen; it’s complete with a 5,000 pound wood fired brick oven. You can see it — and stop it– as it drives through the streets of San Francisco. (That’s a catchy name for a TV series.)

Del Popolo’s (famous) Pizza Kitchen, below.

The homes that are being designed are exceptionally executed and put simply, they boggle the mind. The first question that pops into your head is: how did they do that? Immediately followed by the contradictory: why didn’t I think of that? Architectural classes should be planning field trips! The environmentally friendly aspects aside, these creations are cutting-edge and artistically inspired.

The Manifesto House in Chile is perhaps the most famous home constructed using storage containers, but it is now accompanied by breathtaking homes across the globe. Here are just a few of the most jaw dropping. Notice the storage container naturally provides the architectural detail of texture. The ceilings and walls are interesting — free of charge!