Rahul Jain Designed Infinity-Shaped Cafe by Using Recycled Shipping Containers | RJDL

Rahul Jain Design Lab Designed Infinity-Shaped Cafe by Using Recycled Shipping Containers

Architects today are aspiring to design sustainable buildings to tackle the growing climate change problem. Lately,  Amagansett Modular, The Orange Box and Bahaus home were in vogue for their use of shipping containers.  And now Ghaziabad-based architect Rahul Jain, Founder of Rahul Jain Design Lab (RJDL), puts an interesting spin on the idea with his dynamic new college cafe- Cafe Infinity. The cafe is famous for not only its use of sustainable materials but also for its unique shape that forms an infinity symbol, representing the architect’s belief that shipping containers offer infinite possibilities. SURFACE REPORTER (SR) has brought all information about this fascinating project. Have a look:

Also Read: Waste Coconut Husks- An Eco-friendly Alternative to Wooden or Plastic Shipping Pallets

While explaining the structure's infinity loop shape that wraps around two courtyards, architect said, “The idea of using infinity was conceived to emphasize on the infinite possibilities of using a shipping container as a structural unit, regardless of the building type and site. The flexibility, modularity and sustainability make shipping containers a perfect alternative to the conventional building structures, to reduce the overall carbon footprint while also being an ecologically and economically viable solution.”


Located at ITS Dental College, Greater Noida, this beautiful cafe is named after its infinity loop shape. The structure is an epitome of low-cost and sustainable architecture.

Not only the materials chosen are eco-friendly, but the positioning and shape of the cafe also echo natural cooling.

Upcycling Shipping Containers


The 19-feet cafe serves as a recreational area for the college students, patients and faculty. It is formed by using 40-foot-long nine recycled shipping containers in their raw and industrial state along with minimal Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC). The rough look of the containers gives an interesting point of contrast to its green surroundings.

Sourced from a warehouse in Dadri, these shipping containers of 40ft X 9.5ft X 8ft sizes priced at Rs 2.5 lakh each. The weight of each of the containers is around 3,750 kg and could endure a weight of about 27,600 kilograms each! Isn’t this great!


“Although RCC has been one of the components most used in construction, it is not environment friendly. It is non-biodegradable, and cement particles can cause land and air pollution. In India, we don’t even have proper protective gear for construction labourers. Therefore, it can also affect their health, “ said Rahul.

Other Green Building Materials

Instead of conventional building materials, Rahul used other green building materials. For instance, initially, he was thinking to use checkered steel and iron plate to develop the roof but dropped this plan as it could make the structure heavy and add to its cost.

So, he chose cement fibre boards, which are formed from recycled materials such as cellulose fibres and are mixed with a bit of cement and sand.


Rahul used Rock wool to insulate the building instead of Glass wool fibres. According to him, glass wool fibres are formed by using melted glass which is harmful if it gets into the lungs of the person who is working with it. Further, they increase pollution and are not economical.

Rock wool is made up of basalt rock and recycled slag, both of which are natural and available in abundance.


To promote natural or passive cooling, the architect transformed the shipping container doors into louvres and placed them on the south-west part of the structure to prevent the unnecessary heat gain.


Building Details

The structure contains two café outlets and courtyards for both dental college students and teachers. Spread over an area of 4,800 sq. feet, the cost-effective structure also includes bathrooms, seating areas for visitors and faculty, a student lounge and viewing decks.


Rahul introduced two options for a cost-effective and sustainable design that can be constructed very fast. The first from shipping containers and the other was an RCC structure with a sloped roof along with exposed brickwork and green vegetation.


One shipping container serves as a kitchen, which is attached with the café entrance and the staircase, which is formed by using one of the shipping containers, is on the right side.


The staircase has two sections- the first half is for walking up while the other half, made of plywood, is for seating purpose. The firm transformed two shipping containers to build a sitting lounge for hosting events.


The building is also equipped with a mechanical cooling system, strategically placed tinted windows and openings plus a 50-millimetre Rockwool insulation.

Tinted windows not only helps to balance out the temperature of the interiors but they also provide a sense of privacy.



Finding Trained Workers

Obviously, creating such an out-of-the-box structure is not a cakewalk.  When we see the staircase exterior, we can notice that it is created by arranging the shipping container in a slope. So, finding trained workers for constructing an unconventional structure was the biggest challenge as per the architect. The firm took help from AB Sea Containers, which are specialised in construction works that involve shipping containers.


Restrictive Space

The limited space is also one of the challenges that the architects faced. To overcome this, they found small corridors within the already existing structures on the campus. So, that was the area where they would create mock-ups to analyse the furniture they would make and the method of placing it.

This meticulousness helped to achieve them the desired results. And finally, they come out with an extraordinary, sustainable, low-cost and a charming cafe- The Cafe Infinity.


Rahul Jain, Founder, RJDL

About the Firm

Founded in 2018 by Ar. Rahul Jain, Rahul Jain Design Lab (RJDL) is a design studio that specializes in the fields of architecture,Interior Design, product designs and graphics designs.

Project Details

Architects: RJDL
Area: 2880 ft²
Year: 2019
Photographs: Rahul Jain
Manufacturers: Saint-Gobain, Asian Paints, Parryware
Info Courtesy: The Better India

Hope you liked this innovative and motivational story of the construction of The Cafe Infinity. Stay tuned to SURFACES REPORTER (SR) for more such interesting articles and stories.

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You may also like to read about:

A Low-Cost Vernacular Approach To Sustainable Design

A sustainable university campus in the harsh Leh climate by ANA Design Studio

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