The City of Providence celebrated its newest development project this week; a creative green office building on Harris Avenue on the west side of Providence that will be one of the City's most distinctive contemporary structures. The first development project of its kind in Rhode Island, this innovative commercial building -- The Box Office -- will be constructed from 32 recycled steel shipping containers painted in bright hues.
The developer is Brown and RISD grad Peter Gill Case, principal of Truth Box, a Providence-based design/development firm, which specializes in sustainable building practices. The 3-story building will contain 12 units of office and studio spaces, of which thirty-seven percent are pre-leased. The building's design, environmental philosophy and inexpensive small units are attracting innovative small businesses, artists, and young start-ups working in Providence's growing creative economy. Completion of the project is anticipated March 2010.
There are thousands of empty shipping containers piling up in U.S. ports because of our nation's ongoing trade deficit," stated Peter Gill Case, principal, Truth Box Inc. "Containers offer a timely opportunity to promote green building principals and offer high quality design in an economy that demands affordable options. I have been inspired by the innovation of other container projects such as 'Container City' in London, 'Keetowen Tempo Housing' in Amsterdam and 'Puma City' (which recently had a 'stop over' at the Fan Pier in Boston). I am excited to be breaking ground today on the region's first steel container building here in Providence."
"Despite the difficult economic times, today's ground breaking demonstrates that a new form of sustainable development is happening in Providence," said Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline. "I commend Truth Box for their commitment to sustainable building practices and for their decision to build on blighted urban land. My administration is highly supportive of such creative, environmentally-conscious developments, part of a growing trend in Providence of green innovation and social entrepreneurship."
The Box Office is the first in a series of three highly-visible small-scale green buildings planned for Providence in the next five years, says Case.
The design of the project was spearheaded by another RISD grad, Joe Haskett, principal at Distill Studio, who met Case after he graduated from RISD in 2002. Haskett adhered to a process called 'Integrated Design' (an alternative process that brings all stakeholders to the table on "day one" to find solutions at the beginning of the design process instead of the end -- when changes are more costly). The design team is comprised of small, locally-based engineers, designers and builders. One of them, Stack Design Build -- the general contractor for this project -- is led by Project Manager Joshua Brandt. Brandt is also a Brown graduate, and has worked previously at Shawmut Design and Construction, and also favors the integrated design approach Haskett implemented.