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. He 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,” Mr Tonetti says.
“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, which was featured in Building Today’s March 2014 issue.
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. The company’s own offices are the perfect example of what can be achieved.
The latest example of Royal Wolf’s modification expertise is a shellfish 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.”
Royal Wolf sales manager – South Island Rick Mills says the project was time critical so the company’s production team worked nights and weekends to get the job done within the customer’s seven-day time frame.
About Royal Wolf
Australasia’s largest shipping container provider, Royal Wolf Holdings Ltd, is the industry leader in the hire, sale and modification of new and refurbished shipping containers, and has 19 years’ experience and a network of 33 facilities, including 28 dedicated customer service centres across New Zealand and Australia.
Renowned for its focus on product innovation, Royal Wolf has taken the design and basic engineering of the humble shipping container to new heights. Today, its products are used in a wide range of applications to help solve business challenges across many market sectors.
The company has a customer base of more than 20,000, supplying customers each year with containers which are inexpensive, safe, secure, easily transportable and able to be modified with doors, internal walls, windows, electricity, water supply and more
The containers are used for portable storage options for consumers, sporting associations, community groups and schools, accommodation units, mobile exhibitions, retail outlets, offices, kitchens, training facilities and innovative construction projects.
Royal Wolf containers can be specified to meet portable storage requirements for general purpose, refrigerated or hazardous goods, and are available in a variety of sizes. They offer the perfect solution to many storage problems with the additional benefit of being delivered direct to a nominated site.
To cater to the construction industry, Royal Wolf offers a “Worksite Range”, which includes a selection of shipping containers that are available as a stock item and provide hoardings and gantries, construction site offices, change rooms, first aid rooms and ablution blocks.
The company also has a division focused on the freight sector, providing freight containers for road, rail, removals, bulk commodity, construction and project applications. Within this area, the business has built a particularly strong reputation amongst transport and logistics operators as a provider of specialised equipment.
The mining, defence and resources sectors have embraced Royal Wolf container solutions, as seen by the extensive use of large portable camps and blast-resistant buildings.
Royal Wolf was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2011, and employs more than 260 permanent staff.