On the 13th of December 2011, in
, Starbucks opened the doors to its first coffee shop/drive-thru inside a shipping container. Tukwila, Washington
Designed in-house by Starbucks Architects the shop which is made up of four reclaimed shipping containers was designed with LEED building standards in mind. It has not yet received a certification but if it does it will be the first building with a LEED certificate in Tukwila.
Through this design Starbucks wanted to encourage more “green” building design in the retail world. They reduced operational costs and energy usage by reclaiming the shipping containers. They also gave something that would have been scrap a new life. The inspiration of the containers came from the ones used to ship Starbucks their tea and coffee across the world. The building itself has been used as a sign therefore reducing materials that would have been needed for signage. A rain water harvesting system and xeriscaping have also been integrated into the design. The interiors are the same as its other shops.
All this sounds very impressive and it’s definitely good to see that a big chain like Starbucks is taking an interest in our environment but why the drive-thru? A drive-thru isn’t environmentally friendly encouraging people to drive to pick up their coffee causing more pollution. I think it would have been amazing if they had a bike-thru, it certainly would have tied in with the environmental issues raised. It would have also been quirky and probably gained a lot of publicity. I understand that they want to make money and a drive-thru would make it easier for their customers to buy drinks but even if they suggested a bike and drive-thru to discourage the use of cars and show that they really do want to be “green” and want their customers to be “green” as well.
I’m not really surprised that Starbucks has done this as they are always trying to make customers aware in store and online that they are a “responsible company” telling customers they recycle and by selling ethically sourced coffee. It was a good move to put this image out there completely. The Tukwila store now symbolises the brand identity, they want to be thought of as environmentally friendly, responsible and caring about the planet and by having a (hopefully) LEED certified building will back this up.
This store is a one off but hopefully will act as a prototype for other stores. I really like the design and would like to see more of them about and the fact that it’s “green” is a plus!