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The new Northglenn location is part of a pilot program launched by Starbucks to open a series of environmentally-friendly coffee shops around the world that push the design envelope. The green coffee shops are the brainchild of Arthur Rubinfeld, Starbucks’ president of global development and architect by trade. In 2008, Rubinfeld proposed that coffee shop design be held to the same standards as Starbucks’ other business practices under the company’s Shared Planet Initiative. Then, according to Co.Design, Starbucks opened 14 architectural offices around the world to design its new eco-friendly coffee shops.

The 480-square-foot Northglenn location is just the second shipping container store that Starbucks has opened (after the Seattle flagship), and because it’s so small, there is no indoor seating — it’s only intended for drive-thru and walk-up customers. The diminutive building is made from two shipping containers that are clad in local snow fencing, which conceals the modular structure and gives the shop a warm tone. “Shipping containers source our coffees and teas from around the world,” Starbucks wrote of the original Seattle store. “But many end up in scrap yards once they reach their average 20 year lifespan.” We aren’t crazy about the drive-thru concept, but the new structure smartly recycles local materials, and it stands in marked contrast to its strip-mall surroundings.

+ Starbucks

Photos © Mark Andrew Boyer for Inhabitat