Eco-Friendly Starbucks Made Of Shipping Containers Opens In Taiwan

Starbucks' newest location in Asia-Pacific features a different look than most. The coffee shop, which is located in Taiwan, is built from recycled shipping containers, MSN reported.

The building was designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who also built Starbucks Japan's Fukuoka store and is the exterior architect for the upcoming Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Tokyo. He was inspired by both the "foliage of coffee trees and the traditional Chinese bucket arch," according to MSN. It was his first time using shipping containers for his design.

The location, which opened late last month, is over 3,400 square feet, two stories tall, and features a drive-thru. It is the first retailer to open a storefront in the yet-to-be-opened Hualien Bay Mall, according to a press release from Starbucks. And despite the exterior's industrial look, the building's interior is bright and colorful.

"The stacking of the shipping containers created a much taller space and provides natural sunlight through the various skylights found throughout the structure," the press release stated.

Inside, the Starbucks features a brightly colored wall mural that is a tribute to the aboriginal Amis people of Hualien City, Taiwan, MSN wrote.

"The store is designed to help bring people together over coffee," the press release stated.

"Inside, the containers feature create warm and comfortable seating areas from 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."
Exterior view of Taiwan's new Starbucks made with 29 shipping containers.
Courtesy Photo

The newly opened Taiwan location is not the first Starbucks to incorporate shipping containers. In just the United States alone the coffee company has opened 45 shipping container stores, MSN reported. A drive-thru location in Tukwila, Washington was made using four shipping containers, and a location in Northglenn, Colorado is a shipping container store.

Other coffee shops in the United States have also been apart of the shipping container trend. Huckleberry Coffee Roasters in Denver opened its second retail shop within a 29-crate development, Daily Coffee News reported. San Diego-based Copa Vida's Carlsbad shop also incorporated a 40-foot shipping container shell into its design.

Interior of Taiwan's new eco-friendly location showing skylights created by the stacking design of shipping containers used to create the building.
Courtesy Photo

Starbucks, which has a 30-year history of sustainability, announced its "Starbucks Greener Stores" program earlier in September, USA Today reported. As part of the initiative, the coffee chain plans to have 10,000 environmentally friendly stores worldwide by 2025. One of its goals is for the company to generate enough energy through wind and solar power to offset all the electricity needed to run the chain's U.S. and Canadian stores. Starbucks also announced in July that they plan to eliminate plastic straws by 2020.

"Simply put, sustainable coffee, served sustainably is our aspiration," Starbucks CEO and president Kevin Johnson said in a statement.