Container Coffee Shops: The Starbucks Reclamation Drive-Thru

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Container Coffee Shops: The Starbucks Reclamation Drive-Thru

The latest architectural trends emphasise green, sustainable building –a brilliant example is the Starbucks reclamation drive-thru stores, which, unlike other brick and mortar coffee shops, are built using recycled shipping containers…

The inspiration for a sustainable container store

The Seattle headquarters of American coffee company Starbucks overlooks the Puget Sound – a coastal area on the Pacific Northwest in the state of Washington. Inspired by their view of a busy shipping port, and the fact that the famous coffee brand uses shipping containers to deliver its famous coffee around the world, the idea of establishing a sustainable eco-friendly Starbucks-branded coffee store was born. The premise – instead of being decommissioned in scrapyards, end-of-life shipping containers would be reclaimed and used to form the main building blocks for drive-through coffee shops. Starbucks opened their first container coffee shop in Tukwila, Washington, on the 13th December 2012, with more soon to follow. The innovative idea to reduce the brand’s environmental footprint, create sustainable architecture awareness, and boost the Starbucks brand.

A design Challenge

Designed in-house by Tony Gale, a Starbucks’ corporate architect, the very first Starbucks reclamation walk-up and drive-thru coffee shop was built using four shipping containers. The challenge for the project’s keen designers – creating a functional coffee shop with dimensions that couldn’t be modified! Described as a great big puzzle, the 41.80 square meter Tukwila coffee shop container conversion works! The Recycled containers were converted off-site then delivered and positioned, allowing a Starbucks coffee shop to be set up in far less time than a typical brick-and-mortar structure.

Unique sustainability

It’s not just the use of repurposed containers that’s attracted customers’ attention. The structure itself serves as a signpost, directing customers to the drive-thru window and reducing the need for additional signage materials. The sides of the 12 meter containers forming the upper level were opened up and replaced with cut-out, patterned artwork to encourage air and light flow, whilst a grey water collector on the roof collects rainwater to nourish and sustain the surrounding indigenous gardens. Another bonus – the coffee shop can be easily disassembled and relocated!

Green building success

Following on from their first reclamation drive-thru, Starbucks has gone on to establish other recycled and LEED-certified coffee shops which follow a green building initiative. Denver, Oregon, Salt Lake City and Chicago are a just a few locations that have reclamation-inspired coffee shops – each with their own unique character. For example, Starbucks Denver Reclamation Drive Thru coffee shop comprises two recycled containers clad in attractive local timber which helps to soften the industrial look exterior walls.

Converting recycled shipping containers for your needs

Are you looking to establish a funky, eco-friendly container coffee shop of your own? Boxclever has a range of recycled container conversions tailored to your needs. For more info, get in touch with us…

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