How Does it Feel to Live In a Stack of Container Vans?

The La Union house of architect couple Buji and wife Nikki is a play on minimalist exteriors. It hides a very intricate process of planning, re-purposing, and even relocating container vans just to get the house standing where it is.

Container Vans Home

On the outside, it looks like a home inspired by layers and lines. However, hidden from view is used the shell of a shipment container for the main structure. It was both a wise and practical choice. “When I bought the property, there was already a 20-foot container left by the [initial] owner of the lot,” says Buji.

Container Van Home

Call it a happy accident, Buji reveals that seeing the container on his newly-purchased lot was actually a blessing than extra work to be dealt with. His ingenious design idea was to use the metallurgy of the container vans, given its ability to withstand long exposure to the elements of the sea—a very beneficial framework for a house that’s just a few meters to a beachfront.

Buji calls this set-up a Modern California-inspired home with touches of Japanese sensibilities. He took the highlights and architecture of the bungalow homes from the ‘50s and ‘60s in California including the very retro appeal.

The open space style highlights the surfer’s lifestyle, from the use of practical elements down to Buji’s collection of cool retro vintage accessories. This style also makes the simple loft with mattress look all the more in its element, a quick resting area for guests who drop by to visit this beach paradise.


Functionality aside, Buji also had an overall look in mind that became set in stone thanks to this icing on top of his property purchase. “I decided to re-use the existing container because I imagined it to be a perfect fit for the layout of the house that I had in mind,” he says. That’s because his hostel, Vessel, is located right beside his home. The layered look allows for the house to completely blend with Vessel’s design without giving up the privacy for their own space.

Container Van Home

The couple’s La Union house is undoubtedly a unique spin to beach living. Design-wise, it has probably set a mark for being both a clever use of materials and a seamless incorporation of a multilevel contained hostel structure in the process.


This story first appeared in MyHome July 2017, written by Gel Galang, photographed by William Ong. Edits have been made for