Shipping Containers have found uses in recent times that their original designers could never have imagined! The humble steel boxes have become stylish houses, offices, mushroom farms and paintball kiosks, to name but a few.
Here we look at a sample of the projects where shipping containers have been used for their acoustic properties. Budget Shipping Containers have been involved with some of these examples, other have been designed and built entirely by the user.
Acoustic Properties of Shipping Containers
Shipping Containers are made of a relatively thin layer of sheet metal. This has a low mass so will not block very much sound. The steel walls will also vibrate, allowing sound to pass through easily. If you stand inside a shipping container during heavy rain or hail, then you will hear these vibrations as the steel is hit by the rain or ice. The sound then bounces around the inside of the steel structure and is further amplified.
When containing a dense and heavy material (such as soil, sand or even water) a shipping container will effectively block airborne sound. This type of ‘acoustic barrier’ can be used to shield particular areas from loud noises. This has been used to great effect for the stadium works for Tottenham Hotspur (further info below), and other construction projects. Other potential applications could include; music festival sound blocking, aircraft noise reduction, mining noise control or industrial sound screening.
Acoustic Wall – Tottenham
Budget Shipping Containers assisted Tottenham Hotspur FC with construction of an Acoustic Barrier. Constructed from 50 containers, this structure protected local residents from the construction noise. It has since been dismantled and recycled. More information on this project on this link.
A number of recording artists have built recording studios from shipping containers. Once soundproofed and converted these can be convenient, self-contained and portable ‘home’ recording studios. New York band ‘The Wants’ recorded their 2020 debut album in a shipping container. Rated 4-stars by NME the acoustic qualities of the makeshift studio so impressed the band that they named the album ‘Container’! The pictured shipping container recording studio is owned by Rawcus Studios in Devon.
Respected American singer-songwriter James Taylor used the reverb of a shipping container to add depth to his sound. Rejecting the modern method of altering the sound digitally, he designed and built his own echo chamber in a repurposed shipping container. More information on this interesting conversion on this link.
Tell us about your project
If you are involved with any sort of project using shipping containers for acoustics or noise deadening we would love to hear about what you are doing. We may even feature it in future blog posts. Please send any information and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org
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