Shipping container buildings in Asheville, NC

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The Smoky Supper Club building stacks 19 shipping containers across 3 levels. | Photo by @smokypark

As the cost of lumber continues to rise and the Asheville real estate market shows no signs of cooling down, some locals are responding to these hurdles with creative solutions. Among the most trendy of these concepts is the shipping container building. 

These funky structures, which are emerging more across Asheville, are made from corrugated metal shipping bins. Since these bins usually max out for shipping uses after 15 years, they’re a great candidate for repurposing. 

The pros of using them? They make for strong + durable building materials (they’ve been built to withstand ocean voyages, after all) and are considered to be significantly more eco-friendly than traditional construction materials — not to mention cost-effective. 

The cons? Permitting + zoning logistics, along with an overall more complicated construction process, are big challenges. Plus, as shipping container buildings become more popular, the price for containers is expected to increase.

If you’re as intrigued by this concept as we are, let’s admire a few notable area shipping container structures together.

Smoky Park Supper Club, 350 Riverside Dr.  

Smoky Park (pictured above) is known as Asheville’s first commercial structure that’s built from shipping containers. The building, which features 3 rows and 19 containers stacked + welded together, evokes the industrial history of its location in the River Arts District. 

This DIY-constructed house also has salvaged windows, bolts + much more. | Photo by Keli Keach courtesy of Ryan Naylor

6 Lawndale Ave.

This 1,100 sq ft, 3-bed, and 2-bath home in West Asheville, which recently sold for $350,000, is the first known shipping container home in Asheville. It developed a huge national following via builder Ryan Naylor’s website, which shared its construction story. Filmmaker Christopher Zaluski even created a 30-minute documentary, “Shipping Home: The Movie” about it, which you can watch here

Inside is a simple floor plan with a living room, bedroom + basic kitchenette. | Screen grab from Airbnb

Oakley’s “Modern Shipping Container Home” Airbnb  

This cozy but crafty Airbnb, nestled in an unspecified spot in Oakley, is built from a 40 ft shipping container and has a total floor space of 320 sq ft. According to its video tour, there’s still enough room to comfortably accommodate 3 guests. Impressive.