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Container Spotlight: London’s Container City

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Are you interested in using modified containers in your business? You aren’t alone! Urban Space Management in London created their Container City environments and created a thriving business and living district in Trinity Wharf. The business revitalized an abandoned industrial hub, changing the empty warehouses into a thriving and popular spot for local businesses, residents, and tourists alike.

Customized shipping containers have become increasingly popular, starting with container homes and tiny homes, however more and more businesses are discovering the unique qualities that come with using shipping containers to attract customers to their business, starting with their business’ building structure.

In this container spotlight, we’ll look at London’s Container City, how this unique space came to be and how it’s grown.

London’s Container City

Trinity Wharf is a small peninsula situated in South London’s Dockland area. Owned by Trinity House, the area had been used for manufacturing from 1809 until 1988.

After the city’s manufacturing activities dwindled, the site became available for redevelopment, while keeping the historic warehouses and buildings in place.

In 1997, a proposal to turn the old warehouses into studios and workshops, as well as housing that could be quickly and economically built.

A year later, Urban Space Management took over the site and began to revitalize the area, turning it into the arts and cultural center it is today.

Container City I

The original Container City was built in 2001 and was completed in five months. It is three-stories high, with 12 work studios. An additional floor was added in 2003 in order to accommodate more live and work apartments.

Reusing shipping containers, Container City I was just the first in a line of prefabricated steel modules that now cover the docklands. Container City is home to many artists and creative businesses, including Artyface.

Artyface is one of the longest serving tenants within the area and works with schools, councils, businesses, and the community make murals, mosaics,and ceramics.

London's Container City 1

A year later, Container City 2 was built and has become one of the most recognizable buildings in the world.

Container City II is adjacent to Container City I with an interconnected bridge and five floors of workspaces and 22 studios.

Like the first Container City, this second complex is also home to artists and businesses, such as The Prince’s Foundation. The foundations has been located in Container City II since 2019 and delivers traditional building crafts and textile courses to students across the city.

Here’s the first Container City being featured on Channel 5’s Behind Closed Doors series:

More Trinity Buoy Wharf Container Cities

Both Container City I and Container City II proved to be popular additions to the docklands, so much that a few years later, another building was added.

The Riverside Building became the third Container City in 2005, set on the banks of the River Thames. Also five-stories, Riverside has 24 office spaces and features natural ventilation and light-sensitive external lighting.

Ten years later, in 2015, Clipper House became the fourth addition to Trinity Buoy Warf, created from the 2012 Olympic Broadcasting Studios. The studios had previous been the tallest shipping container building in the world, standing at nine-stories high.

Other container projects on the docklands also include Studio EC, the smallest office space on the wharf and Music Boxes, 6 sound recording studios.


What are Modified Containers?

Modified shipping containers is an alternative option to building with traditional construction. When looking to renovate a business’ look or even considering a location move, the time and cost involved in both the construction, building permits, and building rental or lease agreements can affect the business bottom line.

ISO steel shipping containers allow for a low-cost solution, as well as a better flexibility at designing a truly unique concept and atmosphere. The most common for business use is the pop up shop, a temporary storefront that allows stores to showcase new inventory or products for a limited time. These types of shops are great at not only attracting new and current customers, but can be used to survey a new location site, ensuring that customers will engage with the store.

Pop up shops save money on building rent costs. For example, it can be costly to open a new location only to discover that the area isn’t a fit or customer attendance is low; using a pop up shop, you can preview the location and test the waters. And because shipping containers are portable, you can move your pop up shop to another location.

Here at Southwest Mobile Storage, we have container modification experts that build thousands of custom containers for our customers. Our 90,000 square fabrication center creates a wide variety of modified containers, from exhibition and popup stalls to custom mobile offices to fire training structures.

Trinity Buoy Wharf has gone through a tremendous transformation, from manufacturing hub to creative center, and the area continues to expand for residents and businesses alike. Now that you’ve seen what one business is doing with custom containers, why not see what other container modification projects we’ve helped with in our gallery?


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