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Current as of 23/09/14 06:40PM NZST

Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Auckland embraces ship-shape option

Shipping containers used at Cashel Mall. Photo / Richard Robinson
Shipping containers used at Cashel Mall. Photo / Richard Robinson

Shipping containers are being put to new uses in Auckland, as builders make inroads on two prominent city sites.

Supplier Royal Wolf's cut-down street-side containers have popped up serving in the role of a public pedestrian walkway on one site and as a bus station on another.

In each case, one side of the containers and their ends have been cut away so they are suitable for the new purpose.

Pedestrians walk through them on Fanshawe St in front of the new Fonterra headquarters, protecting people as cranes swing overhead to build the new campus-style project where the dairy giant will occupy around 12,000sq m of 50,000.

In mid-April, a second bank of containers were installed to act as temporary bus stops outside TVNZ on Victoria St.

The two 20ft containers, officially known as hoardings, are in place there while Fletcher Construction renovates the building in the job which forced many staff out and into one of the Telecom buildings further down Victoria St.

A Royal Wolf spokesman said Fletcher would also be using the roof space of the new bus stop containers for storage.

The shipping container business offers portable buildings for temporary or permanent settings, providing 20ft or 40ft-long options.

"These can be transformed into a portable building or units can be combined and stacked to create large, multi-storey solutions," the company says.

The walkway at Fanshawe St is made from shipping containers. Photo / Dean Purcell

Part of their appeal is their strength and security.

Royal Wolf's Auckland and Melbourne offices were also made out of recycled shipping containers.

The spokesman said they looked like containers on the outside "but inside they are stylish offices with a hint of industrial chic".

A multi-storey training facility for the NZ Police Force, a disaster room-meets-safe house for the NZ Defence Force to be used in disaster situations, and pop-up cafes are other Royal Wolf products.

"In Christchurch, the company is one of the key players behind the Re:START container mall in Cashel Mall and it has provided temporary accommodation for the Fire Service since the city's first earthquake in 2010," the spokesman said. Royal Wolf has also provided containers to be used as portable kitchens, temporary accommodation and houses.

Bus shelter on Victoria St. Photo / Richard Robinson

Frank Tonetti, a North Shore-based architect of Architettura, designed Royal Wolf's Auckland office and said traditional construction methods can't compete with the strength and affordability of shipping containers.

- NZ Herald

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