Built for $200,000 and lowered into place by crane, a compact cargotecture office perfectly slots into an architect’s backyard.

From his home in New Westminster, the commute to Randy's new office takes just 30 seconds.

After working from home for over a decade, Canadian architect Randy Bens found himself in need of a little more breathing room to accommodate the growth of his New Westminster–based architecture practice. Yet rather than rent an office, Randy decided to maintain his no-commute lifestyle by transforming an industrial shipping container into RBA Studio, a cozy 350-square-foot backyard office.

RBA Studio cantilevers over its concrete foundation by seven feet and draws utilities from Randy's 1930s residence.

RBA Studio cantilevers over its concrete foundation by seven feet, and draws utilities from Randy’s 1930s residence.

Ema Peter

“The goal was to have the benefits of working from home while having an independent space for staff, a place to conduct meetings with clients and contractors, and to simply have more room to do our work,” says Randy, who assessed various home-office options before deciding on cargotecture as the most cost-effective solution—not to mention the added benefits of modularity and mobility.



From his home in New Westminster, the commute to Randy's new office takes just 30 seconds.

From his home in New Westminster, the commute to Randy’s new office takes just 30 seconds.

Ema Peter

He then settled on a rugged 40-foot-long container—purchased from Richmond–based ContainerWest Manufacturing Ltd.—that was originally designed for mining operations. After trimming the container down to 28 feet, Randy spent six months transforming the industrial container into a livable workspace. 

The office has been cladded in yellow cedar to comply with the city requirement that all shipping containers be clad.

The office has been clad in yellow cedar to comply with the city requirement that all shipping containers be clad.

Ema Peter

See the full story on Dwell.com: A Shipping Container Turns Into a Backyard Architecture Studio

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