Quick to build, adaptable on plan, and made from the ubiquitous container – this residential prefabricated and modular building by Hsu-Rudolphy Architects spells affordable, stylish student housing

Designed by Hsu-Rudolphy Architects

From the architects:

Collective residential, prefabricated and modular building


The building comprises 1400m² of collective low cost housing for students or single individuals and is four storeys in height.

The housing facility is built based on a prefabricated system of recycled containers and a steel structure, designed in such a way that that it can be built in low and medium density areas in the city, adding or decreasing modules according to the available land. 

This modular concept can be adapted or can be built in different stages, depending of different conditions such as commercial demand or economic budget. 

One major advantage is the speed of construction – due to its prefabricated main structure which can mounted on the land site in a matter of weeks.

This particular building has been designed from six pre-made stair blocks and 70 containers which are arranged intercalated, creating small balconies on most of the units. 

This gap between modules also adds a dynamic character to the overall expression of the building.

Only the foundations, first slab and the MEP system was built on site – the rest of the elements were prefabricated and installed on site

The occupants

The project was conceived as a low cost building with a contemporary look and feel, focused on young users who need an essential space, with the minimal basic elements, to live in.

Every unit works as a self sufficient space of a dorm-studio, bathroom and kitchenette; the first floor units have a small yard; and all most the rest of the upper units have their own balconies.

The gap between modules adds a dynamic character
The gap between modules adds a dynamic character to the overall expression of the building.


The project was conceived to work with a passive strategy due to the owner's limited budget, so we focused our efforts on the key simple elements – orientation, isolation and cross ventilation. 

The construction process was another sustainable aspect that we focused on – reducing unnecessary waste.

And of course the fact that the modular system uses recycled containers goes a long way towards helping us to achieve that goal.

Credit list

Container Building, Santiago, Chile
Lead architects
Ian Hsü & Gabriel Rudolphy

Designed by: Hsu-Rudolphy Architects

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Ian Hsü & Gabriel Rudolphy

16 Apr, 2023

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