Royal Wolf offices a benchmark in container design and construction

Royal Wolf East Tamaki Office


It’s fitting a company specialising in shipping containers has an office made out of the product it knows best.

Royal Wolf ‘s offices in Auckland are made up of two 40-foot and six 20-foot containers that are modified to become the centre-piece of its East Tamaki operation.

Architect Frank Tonetti of Devonport-based Architettura designed the offices in light of his innovative work with container building solutions, ranging from single and multi-storey residential “modules” to “emergency houses” for aid projects. 

His brief from Royal Wolf was to create offices that showcase the company’s modification expertise, innovative and expressive container construction, and, most importantly, the functional and efficient space it has created for Royal Wolf's administration centre. 

Mr Tonetti initially made a cardboard box model of his proposal and from that Royal Wolf was sold on the idea.

“The challenge though,” he says, “was to demonstrate the versatility of containerised building solutions, stepping beyond the usual conventional stacking method that is most common.”

“The hybrid building solution offers a unique container aesthetic. There are offices and service spaces that require privacy occupying the containers themselves, and the larger spaces between containers provide versatile open plan reception, retail and boardroom facilities.

“It’s all about the spaces between, around, and under the containers. The diverse orientation, stacking and cantilevering of different sized containers in combination with fully glazed voids and spaces between containers creates an interesting architecture - an inter-play of solidity and transparency."

Mr Tonetti says containers, which are made from high grade Corten A steel, are also a valuable alternative to traditional construction because they are portable, robust and in terms of sustainability they are unbeatable.

“For longevity containers cannot be matched,” he says.

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