A Look Back on The History of The Container Shelter


Allshelter Container Shelter
Container Shelter: a unique shelter concept pioneered by Allshelter’s founder, Doug Reddel, in 2003.

This blog revisits the history of the container shelter.

One of the most popular types of fabric shelters in Australia is the container shelter. What makes it so special?

There were no container shelters in the world until in 2003, when a customer’s request led Allshelter to stumble upon a new type of fabric shelter that could change the fabric shelter industry.

Shipping Containers and Their Functions

First used in the United States 65 years ago for shipment, the uses of shipping containers have evolved. From being used for freight and accommodation units, they were eventually used as storage of goods and equipment. Moreover, they’ve also been used to create buildings – like Christchurch’s container city.

But by using shipping containers, the labor force in the logistics sector can save handling of multiple boxes. Imagine how it became more efficient, right? It saves human energy, time, and resources. Maybe one of the boxes inside a shipping container is the box of goods you ordered online?

Allshelter’s Unique Container Shelter Concept

Let’s keep going with the history of container shelter.

The birth of the container shelter concept became possible when an Allshelter customer asked if we could mount the dome to some shipping containers. This question gave Allshelter a light bulb moment to develop the container shelter concept. It was a new and unique shelter solution that could be relocated, quick to erect, and cost effective. At the same time was strong and had the quality to remain as a permanent solution.

A game changer!

Australian company Allshelter First in the World to Develop the ‘Container Shelter’ Product

Allshelter was the first Australian company to construct and engineer this alternative shelter system in 2003.

Arguably, Allshelter became the first company in the world to have a range of pre-engineered container mounted shelters. Constructed by tensioning a high strength woven polyethylene fabric over a curved lightweight steel framework, the container shelter is an unparalleled solution that was primarily developed to meet the need of the mining and resources sector. It became known as a robust yet rapidly deployable shelter, which could be moved from site to site or contract to contract – with the necessities of a permanent building.

Container Shelter: Australia’s Most Famous Type of Fabric Shelter

Allshelter quickly expanded this container shelter as a new solution into industries within the construction and industrial sectors. It’s now the most popular type of fabric shelter in Australia.

Cost effectiveness, flexibility and ease of relocation are key elements in the development and success of such structural solutions. Combining an innovative dome shape high quality fabric cover with shipping containers, converted this existing resource into an economical shelter system.

After the creation of the container shelter concept, Allshelter saw a broader opportunity to offer a range of cyclone-rated structures that can withstand 300km/hr winds, perfect for the harsh Australian climate & weather conditions.

Check out our range of engineered container shelters in the size selector. This tool allows you to enter your required width and height and you’ll be matched with ideal container-mounted shelter options.

From there, we expanded our range of container shelters, developing the groundbreaking Express Shelters – a range of popular shipping container-mounted shelter sizes that are economical, come in DIY kits with a guaranteed two-week manufacture lead time.

Let us know your preferred fabric shelter. Container shelter, perhaps?

For an indepth history of the container shelter, check out this blog.


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