new life


Now that we have moved the studio out of the shipping container compound it is time to breath new life into the containers.


Lars Fisk and his girlfriend Betil are visiting  from NY to help mastermind a buildout of  two little guest cabins in the the central container – the units will be minimal, like the inside of a van, and just right for an overnight stay when it is too hot or too cold to sleep in the Wagon Stations.


By the end of Friday Lars has the container all insulated and framed out – ready for plywood sheeting which will happen next week.

Lars Fisk's Shipping Container 1

These are the shipping containers that Lars built out as his own home, installed in a secret location in NY – they are incredibly well thought out…  After using my own three containers as a studio for seven years, I’ve come to have a love/hate relationship with these structures.  But after checking out the living compound that Lars made,  I started to believe feel that there might be a way find love for them after all.

Lars Fisk's Shipping Container 2

His five 20′ containers are configured in a way that feels both spatially complex and surprising roomy.  Part of this success is because he didn’t attempt to use the ultra long 40′ containers so his rooms are small, but the proportions feel really good. (which is why we are splitting up my long unit into two separate apartments)  And they are tucked full of “special features” like the rooftop greenhouse and circular skylight, hand crafted for the upstairs unit.

Lars Fisk's Shipping Container 3
Lars Fisk's Shipping Container 4

After my second visit back to check out his progress (it seems like things were always completely new and different each time I stopped by) we started talking about my container compound in the desert and Lars suggested that he could come out for a visit and do a consultation.  That was last year.  Now this year he is back for phase one which feels like the begining of a whole new life for this small compound.  I’ve given the project a two year window (all projects at AZ West have prescribed timeframes so that nothing is left dangling too long) so there is a lot yet to come!

15 Comments On “new life”

  1. This is all very exciting and I look forward to your weekly posts. I also am so sorry to have missed you at SFAI last year and hope to connect with you in the future – perhaps even as an assistant on one of your many projects. Thank you!

  2. Andreas

    Wow, Lars’ container look perfect. I am in love with container based homes for years although I never owned one. Is there a chance to learn more about Lars’ containers? And of your’s, of course?
    All the best from Germany – andreas

    • andrea zittel

      His containers are amazing! I wish that there was more info about them on the web, but he said that images of them haven’t been posted online yet (other then the photos that I just put up). If you want to communicate with him directly his email is

  3. Just found this blog for the first time. Those shipping containers look amazing.

  4. Brian Stephenson

    Just been looking at your exhibition currently at `The Baltic` in Gateshead, UK. I love `Lay of my land` and the Waggon Stations are just great; I loved them! Just wondering if you or Lars encountered any planning application difficulties with the container homes? I`m not sure how local authorities would view them.
    Keep up your inspirational work,

    • andrea zittel

      Hi Brian, Yes, there have been some issues with building and safety department and the containers – for now things seem resolved, and recently some friends built an amazing house using shipping containers that was fully permitted.

  5. So excited to find this blog and get some more in depth information about real life container conversions!

  6. Robert Sproul

    Hey- I’d love to see more of Lars’ wall fur-out and insulation system. I work out of these boxes in Northern Cal and when I try to heat them in the winter the condensation is ridiculous. I was just staring at them this week contemplating what to do.

    Your work has been a great inspiration to me Andrea, thanks.

    Now if you could just help me sort out this insulation thing…….

    • I’ve seen a lot of references to the closed cell foam insulation. Its suppose to eliminate the condesation issue.


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