shipping container home california
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
May 20, 2020 ·  2 min read

This shipping container design is now being built as a home in the California desert.

Shipping containers are inexpensive and versatile. For those reasons, they have been used for a variety of purposes, including homes. Though they are a popular material for tiny-homes and minimalist living, a shipping container tiny home isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when discussing a luxury residence.

In a clash of art and architecture, London-based architect James Whitaker has designed a shipping container home that’s anything but small.

container home

The Joshua Tree Shipping Container Tiny Home

The rocky desert landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park’s desert in Southern California are the ideal place for this new home concept. Perfectly juxtaposed, this white structure that is best described as a ‘starburst’ or ‘blooming desert flower’ will flip what is considered ‘luxury’ on its head. From a distance, you may think that this building is a left-over set piece from a Star Wars film, but as you get closer you realize that it’s a lavish home made of shipping containers.

Though not actually built yet, this is the feeling that the rendered photos of Whitaker’s Joshua Tree Residence evoke.

Originally, Whitaker came up with the concept as a design for office space in Germany. The project, however, never came to fruition. Instead, the house is being built as a home in this famous California desert.

To be lifted off the ground via columns, the exoskeleton of the home is made of shipping containers that explode off in all directions from the main area of the house. 

“Each container is orientated to maximise views across the landscape, or to use the topography to provide privacy, depending on their individual use,” said Whitaker.

In total the home is 2,153 square feet and includes a kitchen, living room, dining area, three bedrooms, and outdoor patio space. With futuristic minimalism at the forefront of the interior design, it is vastly different in appearance than what we’re used to seeing for luxury homes, both inside and out.

Read: Australian Couple Turns Three 20 Ft. Containers into an Amazing Home

The Commissioners

The client, a film producer living in Los Angeles, reached out to Whitaker about the project shortly after a trip he took to Joshua Tree National Park. While on the trip, one of his friends looked at the landscape and remembered a picture of an interesting building design she had seen. She thought how cool a building like that would look in that setting and quickly whipped open her laptop to show her companions. The picture was Whitaker’s design for the German Hechingen studio that had never been built.

The next time the client was in London, the pair met up to get the project started. He already owned 90-acres of land in the desert just outside the national park and wanted Whitaker to design a holiday home for the space.

Construction has yet to begin on this spectacular home concept, but it is sure to be an incredible site when it is finished.

Read: This Family Of 4 Built A Tiny Home Village – One Home For Each Family Member