Shipping Containers

Ohaupo Container House: New Zealand’s Architectural Marvel

New Zealand, known for its breathtaking landscapes and unique architecture, has a new addition that’s creating quite the buzz.

Nestled in the serene Ohaupo countryside lies a striking architectural wonder made entirely from shipping containers.

Yes, you read that right. Twelve steel shipping containers have been transformed into a stunning home, showcasing the incredible potential of unconventional building materials.

The Inspiration Behind the Build

The mastermind behind this unique dwelling is none other than the Fonterra transport manager, who relocated to New Zealand from England a decade ago, seeking a lifestyle transformation.

His motivation to embark on this project ignited after witnessing a similarly impressive container house in Maine, crafted by the renowned architect Adam Kalkin.

For Mr. Wade, a qualified engineer with an innate passion for innovation, the project was more than just constructing a home.

It was about quenching his “burning curiosity” to create something exceptional. As he eloquently puts it, “I just had to see if I was capable of doing it, so I threw everything into it.”

The Design and Structure

Mr. Wade’s design is a testament to innovative thinking. He has meticulously arranged the 12 containers within a sophisticated framework of steel and glass.

Rather than merely using the internal spaces of the containers, Wade has masterfully maximized the external areas.

His philosophy? “It’s not just about thinking outside the box, but living outside the box.”

Each 6m-long, 2.5m-wide, and 2.6m-high container, procured from Royal Wolf, weighs a hefty 2220 kg.

The design ensures that while some container doors are sealed to become walls, others retain their functionality.

Maintaining the container’s integrity was pivotal for Wade, as he emphasizes, “I wanted to make sure the house still looks like it’s made from containers.”

Intricate Interiors

The Ohaupo Container House is a treasure trove of spaces. The ground floor, designed as an open-plan area, unveils a commodious kitchen and a living area.

Additionally, it will house a media room, bathroom, laundry, and garage.

Linking the two levels of the home are two vintage fire escape staircases, sourced from Trademe.

The second level boasts a gallery walkway, connecting the dual wings of the residence and providing a bird’s eye view of the expansive ground floor.

While the house can accommodate six bedrooms, Mr. Wade envisions two rooms tailored for an office and a gym.

The pièce de résistance, however, is the master bedroom on the second floor. Complete with a lavish walk-in wardrobe and an ensuite, it opens out to a deck that offers panoramic views of Lake Rotomanuka.

More Than Just a House

The Ohaupo Container House isn’t just about bricks, mortar, or, in this case, steel. It’s about the spirit of creativity, innovation, and challenging conventional norms.

The 320 square meters of luxury stands as a testament to Mr. Wade’s vision and the prowess of the team of tradesmen assisting him.

Their commitment to thinking out-of-the-box and employing non-traditional methods is commendable. As Wade puts it, “There’s nothing they can’t do.”

A Viral Sensation

Mr. Wade’s journey, chronicled on the Facebook page ‘Ohaupo Container House,’ was initially intended to keep his family updated.

However, the project’s allure drew in admirers from across the globe. With over 3000 followers and counting, it’s evident that the house has resonated with many.

The overwhelming interest and support, as Wade mentions, is truly “flattering.”


The Ohaupo Container House is more than just a home; it’s an embodiment of modern architecture, sustainable building practices, and the indomitable human spirit to innovate and challenge the norm.

As Mr. Wade’s dream nears its completion this April, it stands as a beacon, inspiring countless others to dream big, think differently, and create marvels.

New Zealand has a new architectural gem, and it’s made out of shipping containers.

Source: Living in a Container

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