As residents start to settle in tiny homes and dispersed food trucks reel in more and more customers, architects begin to jump on the bandwagon of mobile infrastructures, manifesting its wealth of benefits. With the rise of this trend, shipping containers are now being used in ways outside of transporting and storing items. When these sturdy, steel boxes aren’t spending their time traveling through from land to sea, they are being utilized by a variety of creative individuals in diverse and unique building processes.
The recognition of the shipping container’s unlimited potential has sparked the idea for companies to transform these hunks of metal into extraordinary endeavors such as trendy coffee shops and bars. These eye-catching and slightly unusual mobile eateries just made grabbing a drink with friends a little more interesting.
1. The Avenue Eat + Drink
Piggybacking this upcoming mania, Tampa Bay’s Downtown St. Pete is home to a new container bar, The Avenue Eat + Drink. This eccentric neighborhood hangout serves as an industrial watering-hole, making grabbing a beer and catching the game a more remarkable experience. Made from two refurbished 20 foot shipping containers, and equipped with a retractable roof, walk-in cooler, 14 taps, and a classic beverage menu, customers feel welcomed in this laid-back, rustic shipping container bar.
Adding some excitement to the architectural industry, a gold-plated shipping container bar, known as Froebe, now resides in Linz, Austria, placed between 2 museums in a public plaza. Built by creative genius, Andrea Strauss, this bar was constructed from a single 20 foot shipping container decked out with a gold paint job and hydraulic system, exposing its bold, red interior with the push of a button. This minimalist work of art has been furnished with a long bar supplied with beer taps, storage space, a back counter, a cooler, and an area to wash glasses. Quite possibly all you need to please a few customers.
3. Illy Push Button House
Although the idea of shipping container bar hopping sounds like a more entertaining night, we can’t forget about those uber-trendy coffee shops! After all, caffeine may be the best cure for a hangover. The Illy Push Button House, located in New York, follows in the footsteps of the convenient, transportable establishments that many have grown to love. The designer, Adam Kalkin, originally intended for this shipping container to act as a house, but later decided to convert it into a sophisticated coffee shop. Through simply replacing the furniture with a seating area and coffee bar, the Illy Push Button House was born. Its most recognizable features are the side doors that fold up, transforming this modern coffee shop back to its original state, a rustic, maroon 20 foot shipping container.
Last, but certainly not least, the well-known chain that is Starbucks has even acquired a role in this building trend. The reclamation drive-thru in Tukwila, Washington emulates the shipping port that this Starbucks overlooks, and brings attention to the perks of sustainable architecture. Using 4 decommissioned shipping containers, this coffee shop was designed with intent to be disassembled and relocated when necessary, taking advantage of the ‘lego-like’ ability the containers possess. Not only was Starbucks drawn to its portability, but the eco-friendly features as well. This coffee shop prides itself on its small environmental footprint as it requires less water and energy than most. Their success has since motivated the opening of 2 more locations in Salt Lake City and Portland, Oregon, and I doubt that’s the last we’ll see of these mobile, environmentally safe coffee shops.
These additions to the world of architecture have made social environments even more fascinating than before! With assets such as mobility, affordable prices, and eco-friendly features, I don’t see why more architects aren’t putting this imaginative thinking into play. We hope you can use these intriguing shipping container bars and coffee shops as inspiration for your next project!