Shipping container homes are an ideal option for homeowners who are looking to invest in a second home, but can't quite afford a traditional build. These four retreats and vacation homes are impressive examples of economical and chic shipping container home design.

Cinco Camp

Cinco Camp is a five-unit shipping container retreat in Midland, Texas, twenty-five miles from the nearest town, and perfect for a tech getaway. This example is luxurious, as each unit is allocated for a specific living purpose, while other examples below fit all living areas into one space. Three of the five containers function as bedrooms (each outfitted with a shower) while the remaining two function as a kitchen, and storage/laundry space-- each unit is outfitted with an air conditioner to alleviate oppressive summer temperatures.

Mark T. Wellen of Rhotenberry Wellen Architects made innovative design decisions to mitigate Texas heat (and the energy it would take to keep five AC boxes on full blast). Each container is covered by a metal canopy which absorbs heat, and wind that flows between the canopy and the top of the container dissipates functions as passive ventilation.

Project Cost: $161,600
Project Size: 800 square-feet
Design Firm: Rhotenberry Wellen Architects
Location: Midland, Texas

Nomad Living

Last year, the Portugal-based architecture firm Studio ArTe designed and introduced the NOMAD living notion they hope to put into architectural practice with Nomad Living, a holiday home in picturesque Algarve, Portugal. The brightly colored one-unit retreat complements the tropical environment, and features indoor/outdoor living spaces that flow seamlessly (easier said than done, even with only 320 square-feet to work with).

The structure features a wide deck that runs along the entire frontage of the dwelling, extending the narrow space outwards thus opening up the interior to the exterior via large glass sliding doors. The shelter includes living, eating, and wash areas and responds to the site’s local bureaucratic building regulations. ‘Nomad living’ is a mobile, sustainable and economical getaway–a functional shell that can be transformed by adding various architectural, mechanical and engineering features.

Read more from designboom >>

Watch the video below for a behind-the-scenes look at the building process of the guest house, as well as the finished product:

Location: Algarve, South of Portugal
Architect: Studio Arte
Size: 320 square-feet

Cove Park (in Container City)

Sited on 50-acres of lush green land with views of Loch Long, Cove Park is a six-unit live/work retreat for artists of all mediums developed by Urban Space Management.

The en-suite accommodation units, a.k.a. “cubes,” act as retreats where artists can get away from the big city and concentrate on their work. Thanks to their planted roofs, the containers fit right into the surrounding greenery, and a wall of sliding glass doors in each unit leads right out onto a decked balcony with spectacular views of Loch Long.

Read more: Cove Park Shipping Containers: An Inspiring Cluster of Green Roofed Artist Retreats Cove Park – Inhabitat

Location: Peaton Hill, Cove, Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom
Units Built: Six shipping container "cubes"
Installation Time: 4 days
Design: Container City™
Completion Date: 2006

Casa Cúbica

Architectural Design: Architect Arturo Lecaro, Architect Mauricio S. Lecaro, Designer Carlos Salvany (Cúbica)
Size: 160 square-feet (20-foot shipping container)
Construction: Tilt-Up SA
Manufacturing Time: 8 weeks