Starbucks Opens New Reclamation Drive Thru Made From Recycled Shipping Containers

by , 01/08/12

starbucks, reclamation drive thru, shipping containers, cargotecture, coffee shop, tukwila, washington

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.

+ Starbucks

Images ©Tom Ackerman, Starbucks

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  1. 6wings August 21, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Great! Now if they would only get with the program and serve Organic Coffee & foods, they’d be spot on.

  2. Manuelita C February 1, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Con mis compañerod de trabajo en siempre vamos a Starbucks los martes, espero que algún día los locales en Chile sean como estos.

    Y es muy bueno el blog :)

  3. BetsyV January 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    My question is, how many times have the containers been used for shipping coffee (or ANY products) BEFORE they are retired? Hopefully it’s not another example of one-time use.

  4. maryj January 12, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    attractive 2nd chance that should inspire more use of containers as a building option.

  5. Ma Hen January 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Nice that they reused the containers…trying to appear to be “green”. Fact is, it is STILL a drive-thru & therefore a major cause of pollution. Another case of greenwashing. Consumers are far more savvy than they appear to believe!

  6. MatterArchitecture December 19, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    It is a good concept and one better seen in a project called Container City done in Puebla Mexico. A mix use application done about six years ago.

  7. Kreddible Trout December 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    old news that crapbucks is capitalizing on. this has been a progressive trend for years among independent businesses for years. independant businesses that crapbucks would put out of business in a heartbeat.

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