INHABITAT: What inspired the use of shipping containers for the new store?
Alan Hilowitz: Our store designs reflect Starbucks’ core mission as a gathering place for the communities we serve, as well as a commitment to reduce our environmental footprint and use our scale for good. Our designers were inspired to create this store both as a result of the shipyard that can be seen out the back windows of our headquarters in South Seattle, as well as a desire to recycle the same kind of shipping containers that transport our coffees and teas around the world.”
INHABITAT: Who was the architect or designer that created the project?
Alan Hilowitz: Starbucks designed the store in-house. Tony Gale, Starbucks’ corporate architect (former Seattle City Architect), served as the architect of record.
INHABITAT: What about LEED certification?
Alan Hilowitz: The store is designed to be LEED certified but has not achieved certification yet.
INHABITAT: What are some of the strategies the store made use of to try and achieve LEED certification?
Alan Hilowitz: Some the strategies Starbucks used in designing the store to achieve LEED certification included: water efficient irrigation; energy performance optimization; use of green power; construction waste management; recycled content; low-emitting materials; and overall innovation and design.
INHABITAT: Was this a prototype or a one-off? Any plans for more prefabricated shipping container stores throughout the country?
Alan Hilowitz: At this time, this store is one-of-a-kind. However, we are viewing this as a prototype which could be replicated in other locations
We also had a chance to hear from Starbucks’ corporate architect, Tone Gale III, who was also the architect of record for the project.
INHABITAT: What was the most interesting thing your team learned from building this project?
Tony Gale III: We were able to open our minds to the use of very common elements destined for the landfill as structure for a high-quality, drive-thru coffee house design – essentially creating an industrial beacon for sustainable thinking.
INHABITAT: Most Starbucks shops include a drive through window for your customers’ convenience, although this encourages people to idle their cars unnecessarily. Is Starbucks working to encourage anti-idling behavior or making use of any other incentives to get people to minimize their cars running?
Tony Gale III: Between one-third and one-half of Starbucks stores in the U.S. have a drive-thru. Starbucks aims to encourage anti-idling behavior primarily through speed of service.
Images ©Tom Ackerman, Starbucks