on a 4m x 40m plot, located within the vila mariana neighborhood of são paulo, estúdio HAA! has realized the ‘box st.’ container restaurant. the project was based on the desire to create a food trading structure, made of containers, that would allow close interaction with the external space. with a reduced budget and a short term deadline, the architects decided to employ a number of prefabricated components, and drastically reduce construction cost and time.

estudio haa container restaurant box st 6
all images by evandro nunes de oliveira



during the design process, several container deployment possibilities were tested, considering the minimum changes in the container modules, as well as the circulation within the narrow terrain. estúdio HAA! has divided the first container asymmetrically, using the larger slanted piece as the front bar block. in this way, the architecture separates the restaurant from its surroundings, providing privacy. 

estudio haa container restaurant box st 1



entrance is made through the side of the container, allowing a clean facade, and ‘antechambers’ for additional access. the smaller portion of the container is used as a bathroom and storage space. the second container was used in its entirety, requiring a large lateral opening of 2/3 of its extension to couple the construction module in steel frame. as a result, its area expanded, housing the restaurant block with ease. 

estudio haa container restaurant box st 4



one of the major project challenges was the logistic question of how to unload and deploy the containers, given the 4m width of the site. it was necessary to develop alternative ways of discharging them, since conventional methods would not work. ‘due to the advent of trucks with up to 40 tons, it would be impossible for the foundation to resist the friction of the wheel, and yet we would need to have the foundations ready at the moment when the containers were implanted’ estúdio HAA! explains. for this purpose, a pre-manufactured system was used, which enabled the locomotion and fast positioning.

estudio haa container restaurant box st 5



as far as paving the ground is concerned, gravel 0 was used, as it presents a great cost-benefit and to exempt preliminary steps, such as the accomplishment of counter floor, waterproofing and drainage system. the containers were internally coated with a thermal insulation blanket and OSB plates for final finishing. the use of OSB plates withstands the twisting efforts of the container at the moment of the movement without cracks, besides possessing low cost and aesthetically composing the project.

estudio haa container restaurant box st 2

estudio haa container restaurant box st 3



project info:


name: box st.
architecture office: estúdio HAA!
main architect: homã alvico
collaborators: michaela araújo, michele guillen
terrain area: 160m²
constructed area: 78m²
location: são paulo, brazil



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom