cf-architects | Container Cafe - cf-architects

Container Cafe

As part of a wider strategy to increase the catering provision at their Wivenhoe campus, the University of Essex approached CF.Architects to design a building to provide a new social hub for students to the north of the campus under a very tight delivery programme.

The proposal is to up-cycle eight shipping containers to form a large open plan refectory dining area with four street food outlets and welfare facilities. We proposed using shipping containers as an economic and efficient way of creating an open plan space in a very short space of time. The containers are to be insulated internally, leaving the metal side profiles exposed. The doors and back panels of the central containers will be replaced with full height glazing providing an abundance of natural daylight into the central dining space.


The kitchens and service spaces are located at either end to allow the central dining area to face on to the central public square with views through to the parkland beyond.A large cantilevered glazed canopy provides shelter to people seated outside and a planted green roof blends the building into the landscape when viewed from the tall residential towers, library and new student centre.