Enabling change in our Society, Environment and Economy (SEE)

Shipping Container Conversion

In 2015 SEE-Change showcased this shipping container conversion as part of the Sustainable House Tours program.

In 2014, Edwina Robinson embarked on a shipping container conversion with her son, Lachlan Richardson.

The aim was to produce a living space, small kitchen and bed nook out of a steel box. The 6m x 2.4m extension was extended on its long side by around 700mm to fit in a free-standing kitchen, cupboard and desk space. A double bed with storage drawers on castors nestles in a neat extension.

The formaldehyde timber floor was removed and replaced with a structural floor topped by bamboo. Double glazed UVPC windows and spray-in foam insulation were added. Internal walls were clad with gyprock, painted a warm white and ply white washed.  White honeycomb blinds provide privacy and an added insulation layer.

The result is a light and bright studio space of around 20 square metres that links to the rear garden. It’s footprint of around 8 x 3 metres means it can easily transported to another site if the opportunity arises. It could also be used as an office, guest accommodation or teenage retreat.

View the 1 minute video of this tour:

The only downside is that the container gets incredibly hot in the summer months despite the insulation. Placing shade cloth directly on the roof provided no noticeable impact in heat reduction. Next summer the shade cloth will be suspended above the container with a minimum 300mm air gap to reduce the direct impact of the sun’s rays. More deciduous trees will be planted but will take a number of years before they are big enough to shade the container’s walls and roof.

  • Designers:  Edwina Robinson and Lachlan Richardson
  • Location: O’Connor
  • Cost: Approximately $29,000 (material costs only – doesn’t include labour and tools)




With thanks to our


  • ACT Government Environment and Planning
  • The Association of Independent Schools of the ACT (AISACT)
  • Catholic Education Office (Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn)
  • Education and Training Directorate
  • ACT Government