Starbucks new modular drive-thru in Denver, Colorado

Starbucks' first drive-through, delivered on a truck

The coffee chain's new LEED-certified outlet combines environmentalism with portability and architectural flourish

It's hard to herald the opening of a fast-food drive-thru as a triumph for environmentalism. However, Starbucks' new outlet in Denver does appear to pair vehicular convenience with both design and green credentials. The 500 square-foot store, which opened this week, was constructed in a factory, using a modular frame clad in local materials (Wyoming snow fencing wood in this case), and was transported to its current location on the back of an articulated truck.


The drive-thru's delivery
The drive-thru's delivery


Designer Anthony Perez explained to Fast Company the dilemma this new outlet had to overcome: “to both build scale while having things be locally relevant, that’s really a designer’s problem to solve.” This is the first of many new outlets that the firm plans to open in neighbourhoods with relatively low-level market demand, unsuited to a full-sized café. Certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building ratings system, the new Starbucks doesn't offer customers laptop power points or ample seating, but looks like a more welcome addition to one's neighbourhood than the standard Starbucks offering. Read more about it here, and if you like what you see, consider going further with Vitamin Green, the definitive book on contemporary sustainable design and architecture from around the world.