Kengo Kuma has designed Starbucks‘ first store in the Asian Pacific built from recycled shipping containers. The new Starbucks is the first retailer to open a storefront in the yet-to-be-opened Hualien Bay Mall, which is located in a tourist destination known for its cuisine and beautiful landscape facing the Pacific Ocean.
This drive-thru location is built to meet customer needs, both today and in the long-term. It offers the convenience of Starbucks drive-thru for customers on-the-go on Nanbin Road, but also continues Starbucks 30-year history of sustainability by recycling 29 used shipping containers to form the store’s structure. It’s 320 square meters and two stories tall.
This unique exterior design was envisioned and brought to life by the famed Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma, who has also built Starbucks Japan’s Fukuoka store and is the exterior architect for the upcoming Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Tokyo. 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. The stacking of the shipping containers created a much taller space and provides natural sunlight through the various skylights found throughout the structure.
Inside the geometric space, customers find a tribute to the cultural vitality of Hualien. The brightly colored wall mural represents the aboriginal Amis peoples with deep heritage in the City. The store is designed to help bring people together over coffee. Inside, the containers feature create warm and comfortable seating areas for customers. From one end of the container, customers can enjoy views of the beautiful mountain range. The other end is decorated with graphics that tell coffee stories.
Starbucks is committed to building sustainable stores and recently announced the “Starbucks Greener Stores” initiative which will be a framework to design, build and operate sustainable stores around the world. Today, this store joins a suite of Starbucks locations built from shipping containers.
In the US, Starbucks has opened 45 of these pre-fabricated modular stores, built off-site prior to delivery and installation, creating an opportunity for the company to extend into sites not designed for traditional store locations while minimizing the environmental footprint generally associated with new buildings. Through these store formats, Starbucks is able to reuse reclaimed materials throughout the design.