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How a Shanghai Firm Created a Simple, Disposable Sales Office

The shipping container was a natural choice for Shanghai's Atelier XÜK, when it came to designing a temporary sales office for a mixed-use commercial complex in the city's suburban Qingpu District. It'll only be used for a year before the site is appropriated for the construction of a commercial space directly to the east, though the 10-meter-wide plot will eventually be used as a grassy lawn for that development. Beyond the guaranteed speed, efficiency, and cost effectiveness of container-based construction for a structure with a very short lifespan, the firm says the "simple and straight-forwardness of its architecture expression will also match with the identification of the development."

XÜK employed an offset-piling method to maximize atrium space while minimizing the number of containers used, resulting in a double-height interior with a "staggered positive-negative space interface" of walls and glass panes. During the day, the openings fill the space with light and provide views of the real estate the office is trying to sell, while at night, "customized florescent wall washers" on the walls illuminate the space.

The "back-of-house program" is situated in the north end of the building, where the the bathroom, changing room, and administrative areas are hidden behind a wall. In front of that stands a "sculpture-like staircase" described as a "delicate balance of symmetry and asymmetry," with a sales desk wrapped around it.

A "unified, one-direction inclined roof" covers the whole building. On the west-facing facade, drainage pipes form a "playful 'trace of water'" echoing the "water-fall landscape" to the north.

· Container Sale Office / Atelier XÜK [Arch Daily]