Shipping container hotel opens at Heathrow

London’s largest hotel made from shipping containers opens at London’s Heathrow Airport today.

The 307-room development, designed by Verbus Systems – a collaboration between construction groups Buro Happold and George & Harding – is thought to be the first in a line of such developments by budget hotel chain Travelodge.

The chain has indicated expansion plans for the next decade and signalled intentions to use the containers in such developments.

Prefabricated bedroom modules arrive partially or fully fitted-out, and the modules are locked together on site. The internal fit-out is subsequently carried out. Traditional exterior finishes such as cladding or brickwork can be then used.

Verbus Systems claims its steel modules are more robust and ‘immune to defects’ than traditional timber frames, with better fire and acoustic ratings.

Interest in prefabricated construction has been growing among designers.

Last July, Hopkins Architects created a prefabricated bathroom pod, shown at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, while in March, Design Week reported that Thomas Heatherwick was developing prefabricated cladding using methods more akin to product design.

Last year also saw Jean Prouvé’s prototype prefabricated house La Maison Tropicale restored to its former glory and exhibited at Tate Modern in London, as part of the first partnership between the gallery and the Design Museum.

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