The Auckland and Melbourne offices of shipping container specialists Royal Wolf feature cutting edge container designs that showcase building solutions for the future. Made out of recycled shipping containers, they are containerised on the outside yet inside they are stylish offices with a hint of industrial chic. Royal Wolf containers are used to provide a wide range of solutions from accommodation units to mobile exhibitions, retail outlets to training facilities and innovative architecture and construction projects.
Leading Auckland architect, Frank Tonetti, believes traditional construction methods can’t compete with the strength and affordability of shipping container structures. He says using conventional building methods means construction projects take a long time to complete, which ultimately pushes up costs, whereas shipping containers offer a practical and reasonably priced alternative. Mr Tonetti, from Devonport based company Architettura, has a background in alternative architectural design and now specialises in container building solutions and works on innovative modification projects with Royal Wolf. “We frequently talk about developing new innovative construction systems but in reality we struggle to think beyond conventional timber or steel methodologies,” says Mr Tonetti.
“We should be open to alternative solutions like containers - if you want an instant robust building that performs well then a container can offer this. Conventional construction can’t really compete.” Mr Tonetti designed Royal Wolf’s Auckland offices using two 40-foot and six 20-foot containers, and recently worked with them on their ice cream container factory modification for Auckland-based business Joy Ice Cream. Other Royal Wolf projects include a multi-storey training facility for the NZ Police Force, a specialised facility for the NZ Defence Force to be used in disaster situations, and pop-up cafes.
In Christchurch the company is one of the key players behind the “container mall” in Cashel Street, and it has provided temporary accommodation for the Fire Service since the city’s first earthquake in 2010. Royal Wolf Executive General Manager Paul Creighton says the company, which is the largest provider of containers in Australasia, can modify containers to a customer’s unique needs and the company offices are the perfect example of what an be achieved. The latest example of Royal Wolf’s modification expertise is a shell fish processing plant for Ikana NZ Ltd in Christchurch. Steve Glass of Ikana says space issues at the company’s existing site were overcome by the clever modification of two 40-foot containers with features such as side wall cut-outs and insulated food grade panelling inside – which meant the factory was able to get up and running to meet export market demand.
While the factory is relatively small he believes there is potential for growth in the future with the bespoke container design offering plenty of capacity. “I’m excited by it because although it’s an efficient use of space, if you utilise it properly, work the gear and keep it ticking over, it’s surprising how much you can produce in such a confined space.” Rick Mills, Royal Wolf Sales Manager – South Island says the project was time critical so our production team worked nights and weekends to get the job done within the customers seven day timeframe.