Treehugger has a collection of a dozen fantastic, recession-compliant homes and buildings made from old shipping containers, the packets of the sea. I really like this South Melbourne playground made from everyone's favorite big steel boxes, but there's plenty more to love on the site. Last year, I nearly rented an office in a building made from pieced-together containers — it was a beautiful space, but I ended up going with something cheaper (a space in a rotting Victorian factory in Clerkenwell).
Shipping containers are cheap, plentiful and strong. I grew up surrounded by containers (and helped my dad design the Kalkinesque warehouse shown above for Northern Canada in the seventies) and always thought the interior dimensions too small, the floors too toxic and the problems of insulating and making them comfortable too challenging, but dozens of architects and shipping container designs have proven me wrong. Let's count the ways.