Whether you’re building an urban farms, an off-the-grid getaway, or an all-in-one pool, a shipping container fits the bill. Made from the thousands of surplus containers that sit on docks around the world, these homes can be an eco-friendly alternative to traditional materials. Still, it’s not often that we see an international powerhouse like Walmart or McDonalds choose a container as its building material.
That’s changing as Starbucks builds its 40th shipping container store, this time the company’s first location in the Asia Pacific. Designed by Kengo Kuma, a Japanese architect known for his considered approach to materiality, in the past Kuma has designed museums from concrete and sculptures from air purifying paper. Now he’s designing Taipei’s first Starbucks from shipping containers.
Kuma arranged 29 used shipping containers into an angular, two-story building complete with drive-thru. Designed to evoke the “uneven foliage of coffee trees,” the structure is a series of cantilevered rectangles that jut out at perpendicular angles.
Many of the white-washed containers have large skylights and windows cut into them, making the interior feel light and airy despite being built from blocks of metal.
The Taipei store is among the first in Asia to be built under Starbucks’ new “greener stores” policy, an initiative from the company that aims to construct stores as sustainably as possible. This isn’t the first time Starbucks has opened a shipping container store—but it’s a coffee container store with an impressive architecture pedigree.