I have been studying the possibility of building a studio out of used shipping containers. Before you start laughing, let me fill you in a bit on shipping containers. Outside of being super cool, building with shipping containers meets many of my design desires for my new studio: simple, less cluttered, environmentally conscious, low budget, and doing something totally modern and just really cool.But there are other practical aspects to a shipping container office (or home). It’s fireproof and low maintenance. Shipping containers can be modular, meaning you can easily stack two or three or more as needed and incorporate the coolest designs.Shipping containers are made of steel and built to withstand weather, heavy stacking, and ocean travel. While their useful shipping lifespan can easily be 30 years or more, most shipping companies work them for 10 years or less, and some companies only use them once since it is cheaper to build new than to ship empty. Right now, there are reportedly 30 million retired shipping containers sitting around. A decent one can be bought for as little as $2,000.I thought I would turn you on to the contractor who will be building my NEW studio. Yup, out of shipping containers.

My name is Quinn Strong

, and I am originally from St. Louis. I moved to Cape Girardeau for college, but now I invest in and develop real estate in Southeast Missouri. For the last 10 years, I have been buying existing structures and either renovating them to sell or renovating them to hold as rental properties. Primarily, I focus on properties that are within walking distance to the university, but I’ve also bought and sold farms, commercial buildings, cabins, and just about everything that has an address.The rental market in Cape Girardeau is pretty competitive, but then again I would guess every rental market is? Today my purchasing group owns enough land to build 54 new rental units and is in negotiations for some commercial properties, land for another 22 new rental units, and a Historic Preservation Project.The next two years are going to be really exciting. Over the past 100 years, building materials have changed very little, and the building process has changed even less. In order to separate ourselves from the rest of the landlords and introduce new choices and possibilities into the real estate market, we have decided to build our units out of shipping containers. Together with the engineers, draftsmen, and architects, we have several floor plans that are ready to be built.The initial design and development of these builds have been incredibly expensive. We quite possibly have the most overly engineered and overly planned buildings in the city moving forward. Very little of the load ratings and engineering is understood for these structures. Load ratings of the shipping containers are fully understood, but when you cut out doorways, window openings, put up rooftop decks, cantilever, and stack these containers, it takes super detailed engineering.

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