Homage to the Shipping Container: Pallotta Teamworks Headquarters

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Over ten years ago, Clive Wilkinson Architects (CWA) were trailblazers in the use of repurposed shipping containers to build out the warehouse headquarters of Pallotta TeamWorks, a charity event company. The design won several design awards, including a national AIA Honor Award in 2002 with comments from the awards jury showing appreciation for its visual richness and environmental conservation. One juror said that it was “truly a California concept – recycling and sustainability at its utmost.”

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In its heyday, Pallotta Teamworks was so successful in its fund-raising efforts that it was highlighted in a case study in 2002 by the Harvard Business School, having contributed $305 million net to various charities during a nine year period. Even though the company employed around 400 full-time staff members in sixteen offices nationwide by 2002, when they suddenly went out of business, laid off its entire staff, and closed the doors of its newly-built headquarters, the efforts of Pallotta Teamworks had inspired many other companies, events, and charities with their methodologies.

In an homage to the forward-thinking efforts of the people of Pallotta TeamWorks and the remarkable solution presented by CWA, Jetson Green presents some of the images of their headquarters, in hopes that others will be inspired to utilize similar approaches in today’s designs that utilize shipping containers.

The budget on the project, at $40 per square foot (about half of the going rate at the time), was so tight that analysis revealed there wasn’t enough money to pay for air conditioning in the space, leading to the decision to contain workspaces and strategically isolate the use of lighting and climate control in conjunction with passive air currents and skylights.

Minimal alteration of the warehouse structure, located in the Atwater Village area of Los Angeles, was facilitated by the use of air-conditioned “breathing islands” beneath tent structures that were anchored by shipping containers. A three-story “executive tower” of offices is a central focus of a cluster of departmental “neighborhoods.”

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