Would You Work in an Office Building Made of Shipping Containers?

shipping containers We've profiled homes made out of recycled shipping containers before, but Providence, Rhode Island's upcoming Box Office project is a more ambitious attempt at making use of the corrugated steel boxes. Slated to be completed in March 2010, the Box Office will be constructed from 32 shipping containers painted in bright hues.

The 3-story, 10,000-square-foot building is designed by Peter Gill Case, Principal at Truth Box, Inc. It will feature 12 office and studio units. The layout is modeled on London's Container City residences, Amsterdam's Keetowen Tempo Housing, and Puma City, a traveling retail, event, and bar space made out of shipping containers. Case's Box Office is already a local hit—four and a half units are pre-leased at $1000 for a standard 640-square-foot space. Energy-efficient tenants may even get a price break. Case is planning to offer "green leases" that vary in price based on power consumption.

Case claims that the Box Office is cheaper to build than new construction at an estimated price of $1.8 million. The building will also be more energy-efficient, using 25% less energy than conventional structures with heating and cooling from decentralized air-to-air heat pumps. Excess rainwater will be collected by bioswales or "rain gardens" to feed plant life.

Next up for Case: razing a steel and concrete warehouse and getting a city building permit. Truth Box is also designing three more high-profile green buildings for Providence in the next five years.

[Via The Providence Journal]

Related Stories:
Would You Live in a Shipping Container?
Would You Make Your Backyard an Office?

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  • Alan Sky

    this is great!
    One of the pioneers you forgot was the firm Freitag with their concept store in Zurich Kreis 5.

  • Steve McGee

    I used to work in shipping containers at the Pacific Crest Outward Bound School office in the high sierra.

    They were pretty strong - but we needed to add post and beam supports for the large amount of snow in the winter (operations closed down).

    The containers are a simple form-factor which designers can work within to create a usable space. Walls can be cut, floors, walls and ceilings can be added, etc. It would not make sense to remove the full-size doors on the ends, but otherwise it would be easy to customize them.

    I think the most difficult part would be dealing with the control-freaks withholding the building permits.

  • David Arthur

    Some of the building designs using intermodal shipping containers have been truly beautiful. Although the image that immediately comes to mind is that of a dank metal trailer, buildings made from these inexpensive and readily available materials can be comfortable, energy efficient, and resource responsible. Think of the often written about modular homes by Michelle Kaufman. Containers essentially occupy the same space as the building modules utilized in Kaufman's designs. It is only a matter of architectural creativity to make container buildings something desirable.

    It sounds like a ripe opportunity for forward-thinking designers and construction professional--once the real estate industry recovers, of course.


  • Chad Eaves

    I would have to say no. It would be better to recycle the materials into a more pleasant workplace. For somewhere that a person spends most of his/her waking hours this would not be appealing to me.