hot /new / next 2016
December 2, 2016 / Written by Kaity Teer / Photographed by Andrew Latreille
LUMINOUS, EXPRESSIVE, METICULOUSLY CRAFTED: THESE AREN’T TERMS TYPICALLY USED TO DESCRIBE CONTRACTORS’ WORKSITE OFFICES. But Patrick Powers, owner of Vancouver-based Powers Construction, wanted the best for his project managers, who spend long days overseeing the company’s residential and commercial work on building sites. “Working out of a truck or a cold, damp, shoddily built trailer with a tiny window”—the typical arrangement—“is uncomfortable, inefficient, and depressing,” he says.
Determined to come up with a better option, four years ago he transformed a 20-foot-long shipping container into two mobile offices, outfitting the interiors with whitewashed siding, raw mild steel tiles, and floor-to-ceiling windows that let in ample light and gave managers expansive views of surrounding jobsites.
Client and employee reactions to these beta offices were so overwhelmingly positive that this past summer, Powers converted a 40-foot shipping container into an additional 16-foot office and a 24-foot head office featuring a boardroom table for client meetings, sliding glass walls with assemblies he rigged out of Rollerblade wheels, and a graffiti installation by local creative studio Chairman Ting Industries. His crews affectionately nicknamed them the “site cans,” but there’s nothing canned about their intent: “They’re a nod to the caliber of the architects, designers, clients, and contractors we work with,” Powers explains. “They make a tremendous impact on the overall tone of our projects.”