World’s Tallest Shipping Container Building gets Development Approval


Plans for a new office development constructed from reclaimed shipping containers has received planning approval, and is set to become the tallest shipping container building in the world.

The East London development, at 118 Vallance Road, will stand nine-storeys or 26 metres tall after being green-lit by London Borough of Tower Hamlets council.

Generally, container construction has been restricted to “temporary” planning permission until permanent developments are given the go-ahead, its designer said.

The development, designed by architect Patalab, received planning permission for a permanent structure on the site.

“The key driver has been to ensure that low build cost is paired with good design,” Patalab’s Uwe Schmidt-Hess said.

“In order to gain planning permission for this scheme we worked closely with Tower Hamlets, undertaking two rounds of pre- application advice and engaging regularly with the planning officers.”

World’s Tallest Shipping Container Building
Freitag in Zurich Switzerland is the world’s current tallest shipping container building. Home to bag company Freitag, its founding idea of making unisex bags from recycled truck tarpaulins, bike tubes and seat belts.

The structure will be fabricated offsite, and as such construction costs are estimated to be around 30 per cent less than traditional techniques.

Located six-kilometres from London’s CBD, the office building is well-connected but will potentially offer lower rents suited to the surrounding Whitechapel district, and of potential benefit for new and young businesses.

Low build cost and design

“Specifying container construction we are able to achieve this; exposing the raw structure where appropriate, yet maintaining the appearance and longevity of a permanent addition,” the design firm said.

Externally, the raw nature of the containers will be treated with a cladding which the design team say will be “softened with glazed balconies and planting”.

Inside the walls will be lined with corrugated metal.

“Aside from the fact that the structure is almost entirely recycled, photovoltaic cells will be incorporated on the roof.”

Related: Shared-Living: Ikea Plans The Urban Living Project

Patalab. World’s Tallest Shipping Container Building
Up-cycling shipping containers: The 118 Vallance Road development has a BREEAM rated ‘excellent’. Patalab.

The city is already home to container projects including Containerville in Cambridge Heath and Box Park in Shoreditch High Street.

Currently, the tallest shipping container building in the world is the Freitag Store in Zurich Switzerland, standing just shy of 26 metres tall, where 17 freight containers are piled one on top of the other.


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