When RJDL was commissioned to develop a recreational space for greater noida’s dental college in India, the design team decided to utilise recycled shipping containers to create a sustainable yet unconventional structure. the resulting cafe infinity forms a striking image, breaking with the rigidity of the site. The realised building retains the containers’ industrial aesthetic, while inside the interior is a neutral, welcoming place for students, faculty staff and patients.
The design by RJDL centers around two courtyards that contain two cafe outlets in the front, two dynamic staircases that serve as seating and provide access to viewing decks, services (toilets) in the central container, seating areas for faculty staff and visitors, and a lounge area for students. The seating area wraps around the courtyard and establishes an ideal viewpoint of the inner courtyards and the outer landscape, which is often utilised for sporting events as well as other activities of the institute.
The organic landscape balances the rigid geometry of the containers and provides fluidity to the site circulation. The large glazed panels off the stairwells visually connects the built form with the outdoors. The landscape complements the industrial nature of the architecture, but also promotes activity. The building is formed using recycled shipping containers that were crafted with careful consideration to preserve the raw and industrial aesthetic. The structure, services and functionality designed with a focus on sustainability.
The core concept behind using the infinity symbol as the layout is to emphasise the infinite possibilities that emerge from using a shipping container as the fundamental structural unit. The versatility and sturdiness of the container makes it affordable and effective, regardless of building site or type. The symbol, when translated to the cafe, stands as an articulate expression of the inherent structural and aesthetic value of the shipping container. RJDL desired that the project reflect the ethos of sustainable innovation – creating new uses and aesthetics in synergy with the environment.