This Proposed Staff Housing Development in Lagos Re-uses Shipping Containers to Offer a Modular Alternative.

Dubbed "La Ville Conteneur", this research proposal by Ngboto Design and Research Studio seeks to provide a temporary modular housing scheme for staff of the Nigerian Ports Authority in Apapa, Lagos.

Project TItle
La Ville Conteneur
Ngboto Research and Design Studio
Design Team
Olaleye Akinola Olanrewaju, Akanu Nduka
Apapa, Lagos

Dubbed “La Ville Conteneur”, this research proposal by Ngboto Design and Research Studio seeks to provide a temporary modular housing scheme for staff of the Nigerian Ports Authority in Apapa, Lagos.

The project is centred on the re-use of shipping containers as building blocks in modular construction and explores the opportunities, pros and cons as well as the challenges associated with container housing developments within the study area. The geographical scope for the study was confined to Apapa Wharf, Lagos State, Nigeria.


The delivery and supply of housing greatly falls short of the demand for housing in this country. With the population of Metropolitan Lagos growing in a geometric progression, there is insufficient infrastructure and housing to equal this growth, consequently there is an acute shortage of housing in Lagos, about 5 million Lagosians are without adequate housing facilities deficit representing 31% of the estimated national housing deficit of 18 million.

One of the problems of housing delivery in the country is the issue of the cost and speed of housing construction; these and other factors like cost of building materials, cost of land acquisition have been the major setbacks in the provision of homes for the urban populace in Lagos state. It is against this backdrop that this research sought to look at an alternative approach and method of construction through which public and private developers can provide sustainable houses at a faster rate to meet the ever-growing demand in Lagos Metropolis.

This research explores the possibilities of modular construction as a faster and more efficient means of construction focusing on the use of shipping containers as the major modular units. This modular construction technology enables construction times and cost(relatively) to be reduced by up to half that of traditional building techniques while remaining significantly more environmentally friendly. The use of shipping containers as modular building component in architectural design provides a recycled use for waste shipping containers and assists in reducing the embodied energy of buildings, which is lower in comparison to other building materials, as the unit has already been used for.other purposes, possibly for several years, whereas, normal building components and materials are typically the first use of a material.

Project Description

This residential complex was made by simply stacking shipping containers methodically while utilising the inherent structural properties of these containers. The complex contains as total of 104 apartments (a mix of apartment typologies including one-bedroom apartments, two-bedroom apartments and maisonette apartments). 20ft and 40ft long containers were used to create a central community hub which provides various services such as mini mart, gymnasium, salons, retail spaces and a restaurant.

The sequences of the transverse corridors giving access to the apartments on the façade create a succession of full and voided spaces that gives the structure a more visual transparency. Each container has a glass facade at its ends, but with the possibility of adjusting the external vertical fins to control the natural lighting on its interior.

The first level was raised from the ground. In this way, the units here can enjoy the same privacy afforded to units on the upper floors. To ensure maximum heat and sound insulation, the walls of the container adjacent to the outside have been well insulated to regulate the internal thermal environment and the apartments enjoy vast greenery, provisions for solar power, rainwater recycling facilities, sports area and playground for kids, adequate parking.

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