Container Temporary Housing, Onagawa
Shigeru Ban 

Container Temporary Housing, Onagawa

Shigeru Ban 

Built with shipping containers, this community was created to address the shortage of housing after the earthquake of 2011 in Onagawa, in Miyagi Prefecture. Unlike the usual emergency units, which need a lot of flat land for construction, this project increases the building density by stacking multi-story containers, a solution that also reduces construction time.

The housing units are arranged following a checkerboard pattern, creating open living spaces in between the containers and improving their climatic performance. There are three types of apartments depending on how the containers are combined: for one or two people (19.8 m²), for three or four (29.7 m²), and for more than four (39.6 m²). To improve the storage systems, the Voluntary Architect’s Network (VAN), run by Shigeru Ban himself, installed wood shelves and cabinets in the rooms.

Placing the housing units in three-story rows frees up space in the center of the site for public facilities such as a market, a workshop, and a community center. These structures are also built using shipping containers combined with textile roofs, wood, and paper tubes.  


Shigeru Ban Architects


Structure: ARUP; Built-in Furniture: Voluntary Architects’ Network (VAN)


TSP Taiyo Inc.


Hiroyuki Hirai