High-profile Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has turned his considerable talent to shipping container-based architecture for the first time to produce this new Starbucks. The project is located in Taiwan and will function as a drive-thru in a soon to be opened shopping mall.

The Hualien Bay Mall Starbucks consists of 29 shipping containers and has a total floorspace of 320 sq m (3,444 sq ft), spread over two floors. The containers have been reinforced, modified for glazing, and are painted white. The building's interior, which wasn't designed by Kuma, includes a brightly-colored wall mural representing Taiwan's aboriginal Amis people and offers views of a nearby mountain range.

"This is the first time Kuma has used shipping containers for his designs and was inspired by the foliage of coffee trees combined with the traditional Chinese bucket arch," says a press release. "The stacking of the shipping containers created a much taller space and provides natural sunlight through the various skylights found throughout the structure."

The project may be Kuma's first foray into container architecture, but it's certainly not the first time for Starbucks. The coffee giant is rather fond of the big metal boxes and has opened a total of 45 shipping container-based coffee shops around the world to date.

Starbucks is keen to promote the sustainability the project, though we've no information on any significant sustainable measures taken beyond the recycling of the used shipping containers – such as whether or not they were properly insulated to mitigate their poor thermal performance, for example.

Source: Starbucks

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