In the last few years the trend for prefabricated hotels – which are built offsite in modular parts and then stacked together – has been growing. The practice tends to be cheaper, quicker and more environmentally friendly than building onsite, and London’s hotel scene has moved from one-off properties under large groups, to entire brands built on the concept.
In 2008 Travelodge constructed their first modular hotel. The 120-room hotel was built from Verbus modules, high strength steel modules that resemble shipping containers. Once stacked and bolted together, the hotel looked no different from any other Travelodge. At the time of building, Travelodge claimed that building in this way reduced construction costs by up to 10 per cent and shortened construction time by 25 per cent. Once the hotel is no longer in use, the steel modules can also be taken apart again and recycled.
CitizenM’s first London hotel, citizenM London Bankside, was constructed by stacking prefrabricated rooms in 2011. CitizenM Tower of London, which is set to open later this year and will be the group’s flagship hotel, is being put together in the same way.
The Dutch hotel group has the modular rooms created in a European factory, they arrive with everything a hotel room needs, including furniture, plumping and wiring, and are then craned in to be stacked and connected. Rob Wageman, principal at Concrete Architectural Associates, who designed the concept, told Wired: “We have way less waste, and we know the number of hotels we’re planning to open so can build rooms in huge numbers. That allows us to keep the price of production low.”
Now IKEA, who are known for their prefabricated flat-pack furniture, have teamed up with Marriott to produce the Moxy brand. These prefab boutique hotels are aiming to provide trendy, low-cost accommodation with style and the latest technology.
The hotels won’t be using IKEA furniture, but it was the IKEA Group who suggested constructing the rooms offsite and assembling them later. The first Moxy hotel has opened at Milan airport and further properties are planned for London, Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt and Oslo. Across the UK, the brand plans to open five London hotels, in Heathrow, Stratford, London Royal Docks, Ashbourne and Aberdeen, but not before establishing their presence in the rest of Europe.
Just last month planning permission was granted for a new Park Plaza on Western Avenue, which will again use this system. With this type of hotel construction saving businesses both time and money, it may very well continue to catch on.
Photo credits: Balfour Beatty, citizenM Tower of London, Moxy Hotels.