Properly modified for habitation, shipping containers can transform into all sorts of things, including homes, offices, pop-up stores, cafés, and mechanic shops. Egyptian startup Qubix is well known for its creative work in this area, creating shipping crate architecture that’s actually livable, usable, and pleasant to look at. Now, they’re producing something the world needs more than ever: portable medical units.

Qubix' portable medical clinics are made from used shipping containers.

Fully equipped with all the things health professionals might need in an underserved area, these shipping container clinics are constructed off-site and shipped wherever they’re needed, whether that’s a rural area lacking the kind of medical infrastructure needed to address a crisis like COVID-19 or an overloaded urban hospital. And since it’s so compact and already the standard size shipped by trucking companies, it’s easy to move and locate just about anywhere, requiring no foundation or other prep work. It just has to be hooked up to electricity and running water.

The Startup Scene reports that “within urban centers, it also provides a solution for sporting clubs, residential compounds, and doctors for whom the process of finding, renting, and setting up a space for a clinic is not accessible or affordable. Fully portable and made with all antibacterial materials, the product is also fully customizable.”

“The first pilot will be delivered within a month, along with a team that will be managing the operations of the unit,” says Youssef Farag, Qubix co-founder and COO. “And then we’re hoping to become a go-to option for all health providers, as well as providers of medical supplies.”

Other examples of shipping container transformations by Qubix.

Other examples of shipping container transformations by Qubix.

Other examples of shipping container transformations by Qubix.

Other examples of shipping container transformations by Qubix.

Founded in 2016 by two young entrepreneurs, Qubix has created and delivered over 50 unique shipping container buildings to clients in all sorts of industries. They say their prefabricated shipping container architecture saves up to 30 percent compared to conventional building methods, and they offer fully customizable projects based on each client’s needs and ideas.

Shipping containers have taken off over the last decade as a fast, cheap basis for buildings. They can have a lot of benefits, but only when they’re properly decontaminated, insulated, ventilated, and finished. Unfortunately, used shipping containers are often made with potentially toxic materials and used to transport toxic goods, and their interiors can get very hot and build up condensation. After all, they were originally made for goods, not humans.

While many shipping container building concepts are pure fantasy, with renderings depicting the crates stacked in ways that aren’t structurally sound, Qubix appears to take a more realistic approach. Most of their projects feature single-height shipping containers placed adjacent to each other, sometimes within a steel framework that adds on additional terraces, balconies, and usable rooftop space with stairs. The interiors are finished like a conventional building, and much of the exterior walls are replaced with large expanses of glass to make sure they feel bright and spacious.

Qubix' portable medical clinics are made from used shipping containers.

The Qubix team explains that their members “share a dream that cannot be contained, we are fueled by believing we can do things better and faster than our competitors as well as attempt exciting and daring projects that others wouldn’t. Quality is synonymous with our brand and we will always strive to add value to our clients through our services and products which we constantly develop in order to stay fresh, unique, and innovative.”