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Shipping containers used to build Research Triangle Park’s first community gathering space

Energy-Efficient Design

Shipping containers used to build Research Triangle Park’s first community gathering space

Construction retained dense tree coverage, providing shade, contrast to industrial look.

By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | May 19, 2022
Boxyard RTP lunchtime happy hour ext
Boxyard RTP serves as a lunchtime and happy hour destination, as well as a venue for concerts, farmer’s markets, and other community events. Courtesy CRTKL.

Shipping containers were the prominent building material used to construct Boxyard RTP, the first public community and gathering place in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park (RTP). Designed by CallisonRTKL (CRTKL), the project is intended as a lunchtime and happy hour destination, and a venue for concerts, farmer’s markets, and other community events.

Located on a wooded lot within a grove of evergreen trees, Boxyard RTP takes advantage of the shade thrown by the dense tree coverage, and the natural features provide a contrast to the industrial look of the containers. The site is organized around a courtyard with retail, food, and beverage offerings surrounding the central open space. The courtyard is partially protected from the elements by a prefabricated metal building canopy that plays off of the containers’ industrial aesthetic.

Beneath the canopy, a container houses a stage with drop down walls on two sides, allowing flexibility for various types of events. The design of the structures makes use of the entire container materials, which increases sustainable practices and reduces project cost. The prefabricated, modular nature of the shipping containers and the minimal site disturbance required reduced the construction schedule to just nine months.

The stage facing the courtyard is intended for large music performances. Patios were created with wood decking over container roofs or offsetting stacked containers. Another stage will be used for smaller productions, allowing guests to sit on the lawn below the tree canopy. With room for up to nine restaurants, indoor/outdoor seating options, and a covered pavilion, Boxyard RTP will provide year-round dining and shopping experiences.

Food and beverage tenants will have from three to six conjoined containers. Retail tenants will have the option to have a single container or the ability to open-up two conjoined containers.

Located in the largest research park in the U.S., the Research Triangle is located between Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. Access to the site is readily walkable from surrounding campuses in RTP. It has integrated parking for vehicles and access to a bus stop along Highway 54 to the project’s south.

On the building team:
Owner and/or developer: The Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina
Design architect: CRTKL
MEP engineer: Clark Nexsen
Structural engineer: Lynch Mykins Structural Engineers, PC
General contractor/construction manager: Kirkland Inc.

Boxyard RTP Design
Courtesy CRTKL.
Boxyard RTP Tree Canopy
The site takes advantage of the tree canopy to shade the open courtyard from the south and provide protection for the patrons that take in an afternoon concert on the lawn stage. Courtesy CRTKL.


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