Can Cube / Archi Union Architects Inc

 Sheng Zhonghai

Can Cube’s facade is a system of aluminium carbonated drink cans which are enclosed in an aluminium frame. The façade saves the energy wasted during recycling processes by reusing the cans in their current form, without the need for recycling or further processes. For more about this sustainable mixed-use design, photographs and drawings, following the break.

Location: Shanghai,
Project Area: 1,000 sqm
Project Year: 2009-2010
Photographs: Sheng Zhonghai

 Sheng Zhonghai

Archi Union’s sustainable mixed-use Can Cube design is an innovative residential and office building, located in Shanghai. By utilizing several ecological and renewable systems the building is highly efficient and sustainable. The entrance level and below ground level are both occupied by office space, while levels two and three are recreational and private living quarters. At the entrance is a gradually recessed garden, leading to the basement level. A bridge connects the foot of the garden to the first floor level.

can wall detail

Enclosing them in an aluminium frame keeps the structure light and easily adjustable by its occupants. Window-sash type sections within the façade provide the user with full control of sunlight/daylight in all seasons. The façade works alongside underground heating and cooling devices, rainwater filtration and solar energy systems, which all provide more efficiency and minimize the wastage of energy.


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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Can Cube / Archi Union Architects Inc" 27 Oct 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • Tosh

    This project looks really dull to me.. to be honest, who cares if it’s a can facade or not.. the idea is not new.. and cans are pretty much the most recyclable thing anyway.. so – dull.. sorry. The looks of the building is nothing special either..
    Don’t appriciate it at all. It’s really disappointing when such projects get published in archdaily..

    • Andrew

      …right. Who uses the default AutoCAD hatching and colors in their diagrams?

      Is this project conceptual?

  • bilo

    “Who uses the default AutoCAD hatching and colors in their diagrams?”…

    I say whoever does whatever others don’t is worth trying doing. Wanna be different, don’t do like others do.

  • mvb

    I wish the cans were full of beer… haha

  • Marc

    The cans all look in perfect condition, which makes one wonder if it has ever been used, or whether it has been specifically manufactured for this screen….that would completely defeat the purpose of recycling!

    • bLogHouse

      No, they were emptied on site by the construction workers. It was all-you-can-drink job.

  • Pedro R Andrade

    Yes we can…

  • Francisco Lavin

    I can’t belive that was made with can :O