If you've ever passed through the city of Providence, R.I. near where Route 6 meets I-95, you may have spotted it from the road (and nearly caused an accident from your rubbernecking): a boxy blue —with splashes of yellow and green — jumble of cargo containers perched next to a stretch of railroad tracks on a once-forsaken lot in the heavily industrial Olneyville neighborhood.
It's hard to miss.
Completed back in 2010, Box Office is the country's first and largest permanent commercial building built from recycled shipping containers; the 12-unit office/studio complex is comprised of 32 of the corrugated steel boxes. Although cargotecture has evolved greatly over the past four years, particularly in the multifamily residential category, Box Office remains an admirable feat of modular green building. Not only does the structure make good new use of something old and obsolete, it's extremely energy-efficient: the solar panel-topped, highly insulated building — it's currently boasts 100 percent occupancy in case you wondering — consumes around 22 KBTU/sf/year. This is a mere 25 percent of what "normal" office buildings in the Northeast consume.
The gang at faircompanies recently joined project architect Joe Haskett of Distill Studio for a super-informative tour of Box Office to learn more about the unique building's back story along with the crucial role that cantilevering played in the project and the various "head-scratchers" faced by the design team as they worked to make the high-performance building completely compliant with building code. Most interesting are the insights as to what Haskett would do differently based on what he learned from his maiden commercial cargotecture project.
Do check out the above video and join the tour ... no ticketing is required.
Related stories on MNN:
- Mixed-use shipping container development coming to St. Louis
- Detroit is getting nifty shipping container homestead
- Retired cargo containers converted into student housing in Washington, D.C.