Stacked high on massive cargo vessels, shipping containers make lengthy journeys across the world’s oceans to deliver the goods. Many of those containers make a single trip only to be discarded upon arrival, while others get second chances as restaurants, office spaces, or homes. More recently, one American company has found yet another way to keep them from becoming waste-by turning them into backyard swimming pools.
Modpools builds self-contained, modular pools that can be used above, below, or partially in-ground. The pools come in sizes ranging from 8-by-12 feet to 12-by-40 feet.
Since being founded by Paul Rathnam in 2017, Modpools has created some seriously unusual pool designs that begin with discarded shipping containers-think pools on rooftops, pools with windows into living rooms, and pools integrated into decking. "We’re disrupting an industry and innovating an untapped space in the market between old-school traditional pools and ’70s hot tubs," claims Rathnam.
The company’s entry-level offering starts at $26,000. The company has a convenient 3D pool builder on its website that allows buyers to explore options and pricing in real time.
The shipping container pools have been installed in a variety of contexts, from coastal retreats to tight urban plots.
The idea for Modpools came to Rathnam about six years ago on a trip to Palm Springs, where he has vacationed regularly with his family over the past several years. After becoming accustomed to the pool lifestyle, he started exploring new ways to install one conveniently at his own home. Rathnam had already been converting shipping containers into office spaces, so he thought, why not a pool?
Modpools builds and ships the pools, and installation is arranged by the homeowner.
"Containers already have a complementary shape and robust engineering, making them a natural fit," he explains. Rathnam is also quick to point out the ease of installation, and boasts their sleek design when compared with other above-ground pool options.
Paul Rathnam, the founder of Modpools, says installation is easy: "Start with a good compacted gravel or concrete base, gas supply, electrical connection, and add a deck if needed-you’re ready to go," he says. "Some of our customers are swimming the same day they get their pool delivered."
Each pool is custom built and can incorporate several different features, including removable hot tub divider walls, endless swim systems, infinity edges, and large windows.
This pool has been build into a decking area and features a divider between the pool and a hot tub.
To date, the company has shipped over 850 pools to clients in North America. "The reaction to Modpools has been overwhelmingly positive," says Rathnam. "Most people love the idea of upcycling a shipping container into a swimming pool."
The containers come in two sizes and are cut down to size to fit specific settings. They can also be increased in width using leftover metal from previous orders.
Windows can be added into the side of the pool as a design feature. Modpools has even created one pool that is attached to a home and looks into the living room.