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Patalab wins approval for 'world's tallest' shipping container building

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Patalab Architecture has won approval for what it claims will be, on completion, the tallest building in the world made from shipping containers

Approved this week by Tower Hamlets council, the nine-storey office development in London’s Whitechapel will be fabricated offsite from reclaimed shipping containers and will stand 26m high plus lift overrun. This will be slightly higher than the 26m Freitag store in Zurich.

The council has given the go-ahead for the demolition of existing buildings on the site in Vallance Road, a street which was once home to the Kray Twins, and the addition of the new office block with ancillary retail space.

Under Patalab’s design, the containers, treated with a unified cladding and ‘softened’ with glazed balconies and planting, will be stacked in a gridded arrangement. The interior colour scheme will be inspired by freight company colours and the walls lined with corrugated metal.

The London and Berlin-based architects worked closely with the council and planning consultant Barton Willmore to win permanent planning permission, rather than the temporary approval typically associated with container construction.

Uwe Schmidt-Hess, director of Patalab, said: ‘We are very excited about this scheme as it will see shipping container construction lifted to a new level. Apart from being the tallest building, it combines cost-efficient offsite fabrication with sustainable design, providing flexible and affordable office space to companies in East London.’

Construction is expected to take nine months

Most of the new structure will be made from recycled material, with photovoltaic cells installed on the roof. The design aims for a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating.

Owing to the prefabrication, the construction cost is expected to be around 30 per cent less than traditional techniques.

The project will start on site in the autumn, with construction expected to take nine months.

Container tallest in world patalab elevation

Container tallest in world patalab elevation

Project data

Location Whitechapel, east London
Type of project Commercial
Client The Estate Office Shoreditch
Architect Patalab Architecture
Planning Consultant Barton Willmore
Sustainability Consultant Eight Associates
Services Engineer Ingine
Contractor Urban space Management/Container City Projects
Start on site: Autumn 2019
Construction period: Nine months
Date of planning permission: 25 June 2019

Patalab container whitechapel vallance road model

Patalab container whitechapel vallance road model


  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • The existing buildings would have to be pretty dismal to make this design an improvement, and while it might be raising the re-use of containers to a new physical level, it certainly isn't architecturally.
    Whitechapel surely deserves better.

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