Back in 2009 we were stoked to see plans for the Box Office, a building of 12 offices built from 32 shipping containers in Providence, Rhode Island. Now that it's complete, we're excited to revisit the project and see new images of the bright and colorful office space. Designed by Distill Studio and developed by Truthbox, the Box Office is more than just a great example of shipping container architecture -- it also features high-performance insulation, windows and doors and energy-efficient climate control. We're happy to hear that over 75% of the office spaces have been leased out since it opened in 2010.
The design for the Box Office emerged after the economy degraded and the client realized he didn’t have the budget for the brand new, uber green office building of his dreams. He and the architects of Distill Studio went back to the drawing board to come up with a more budget-friendly design and ended up working with shipping containers.
Distill Studio, led by Joe Haskett, held many design charrettes and planning meetings with all the pertinent people and consultants at the table. These interdisciplinary design meetings allowed the team to come up with the dynamic design you see now with 12 offices varying in size, cantilevered conference rooms and outdoor walkways and staircases.
Besides using cost-effective recycled shipping containers, energy efficiency was a high priority. This included the use of high performance, non-petroleum insulation, doors and windows to minimize heat loss in and out of the office spaces. Numerous cut windows pull daylighting into the space, and a large canopy in the center of the building protects the inner courtyard and shades the space in the summer. Like strawbales homes, each container features a “truth window”, which is where the container’s label was left unpainted so everyone could see its serial number.
The three-story building has 12 offices varying in size from 640 sq ft to 2,560 sq ft, with leases ranging from just below $12,000/year to just above $20,000/year. The leases are also set up to encourage tenants to reduce their energy use.
If you want to learn more about the design process, check out this great interview with Joe Haskett of Distill Studio over at Core77.
Images ©Nat Rea