Innovation That Matters

Amongst their designs, Modpools has installed infinity pools with window features built into the sides of the containers. | Photo source Modpools

Company turns shipping containers into swimming pools

Work & Lifestyle

To date, Modpools has installed 800 pools across North America, saving shipping containers from rusting in the dump

Spotted: Vancouver-based Modpools is repurposing shipping containers as backyard pools across Canada and the US.  

It is often the case that containers are used for overseas transportation but go to waste after one trip, discarded in ports and inland depots where they are left to rust and stack up.

Modpools was established in 2017, when its founder Paul Rathnam, started purchasing containers that were making single trips across the Pacific and then abandoned. These containers transport goods like phones, computers, and clothes from China to North America. If the containers are sent back, which is not always the case, they return empty.  

“North America doesn’t really have much to send China,” Paul Rathnam told Fast Company. And because China doesn’t want its containers back, they are often dumped. However, an increasing number of containers are being repurposed into offices, classrooms, and even homes. 

“Turning them into something that you can use for 30 years on your property [is] probably the best form of recycling we can do,” Rathnam added. 

For the construction of the pool, a modular approach is used. First, 20-by-8-foot or 40-by-8-foot containers are cut down to fit the shape and size required by the customer. Dimensions can also be expanded by adding more steel. The process is carried out at the Modpools factory outside of Vancouver, and then, it only takes a day for the pool to be installed.  

Amongst their designs, Modpools has installed infinity pools with window features built into the sides of the containers. The pool-hot tub combination is also popular, the business told Fast Company, as parents can swim with children in the day, and enjoy the bubbles during the evening.  

Although the pandemic has led to a shortage of shipping containers, the company has conversely seen an increase in demand for Modpools as people have spent more time at home. So far, Modpools has installed 800 pools across North America, with about 150 currently being mantled in the factory.  

Similar innovations spotted by Springwise include a US grocery chain that has begun growing vegetables hydroponically in a shipping container in its parking lot and a nano-factory that fits into a 40-foot shipping container. 

Written By: Katrina Lane

Explore more: Sustainability



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