Starbucks’ Conex Shipping Container Store

Seas of shipping containers waiting to find their way to a scrapyard became Perez’s inspiration to build something new.  Anthony Perez is Starbuck’s global store design senior manager. While looking out his office window, he realized he was next to one of the busiest ports on the west coast.  As Anthony starred at the Corten steel intermodal containers outside, he wondered if the material could be put to better use. This became his inspiration to repurpose used Conex shipping containers.

The steel containers became the building blocks and inspired design in their efforts to transition into having a more sustainable and unique construction model. After a lifespan of 20-25 years, used shipping containers are normally scrapped. Starbucks, a leader in innovative business practices, saw an opportunity to reduce waste and repurpose the containers to be the next stop for your cup of joe.

With only 137sq meters of building space, the Starbuck’s design team took creativity to a new level – literally.  Storage containers are versatile and provide the leverage for innovators to stack containers up to 4 high without compromising the structure. The final design incorporated a 40ft container at the bottom and two 40ft containers on the top (for the store) and an additional 16ft piece and anything left over was incorporated into the building.

Starbucks is committed to the environment and is recognized as LEED certified. Being LEED certified means the building meets designated sustainability standards. In addition to it’s sustainability, Perez’s goal was to make the experience enjoyable and unique for the customers.  It is a win-win for sustainability and the community of Starbucks lovers.

Utilizing a modular design and easy mobility, Perez was able to recreate his design in Denver, Colorado. In order to make it feel more local, they used a recycled container combined with local materials for the exterior decor.  Starbucks has gained a lot of positive feedback and nationwide attention from its consumers, architects and environmentalists. Within the first 9 years of the project’s inception, there are now upwards of 45 Starbucks locations that are build from repurposed shipping containers and only plan on expanding their concept.


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