There are a number of benefits to modular building including the ease of construction, as the materials are prefabricated off-site, and the reduction of on-site waste and sizing. Additionally, prefabrication leaves less room for on-site human error.
The Shubette House in London underwent a major redevelopment in 2013. The site is well known and well traveled as it sits on an intersection with a major pedestrian route connecting Wembley Park Underground Station and Wembley Stadium.
The development, completed by HTA Design LLP (Hunt Thompson), was commissioned by Pinnacle Developments. Interestingly, the former site housed an old clothing warehouse that was set for demolition in 1999. The project took nearly a decade to be approved. The redesign required the construction of a mixed-use space used for commercial, residential and hospitality needs, resulting in one of London’s tallest modular designs.
Constructed in an L-shape, the buildings are divided into a hospitality and residential space, although there is additional space for commercial and leisure activities at the ground level. Affordable housing solutions company, Network Housing Group, owns the residential portion of the building. The hotel, facing Olympic Way, is owned by international hospitality chain Novotel.
The off-site manufacturer of the modular designs, Vision Modular Systems (VMS), constructed prefabricated modules that were delivered by crane at predetermined times to the site. Delivering and assembling roughly eight modules a day, each module was craned into position. However, the exterior cladding and roofing systems were installed on site.
Showcased as protruding window boxes, Alucobond Plus Spectra Cupral was chosen for the exterior design of the 237-room hotel. Spectra is an Alucobond finish series known for its natural luster and ability to change color based on focal viewpoint and natural light. The versatility and constantly changing nature of the cladding material allows for a playful exterior design. Fabricated by Booth Muirie, the panels frame each window to form a three-dimensional façade, that offers unique perspectives at every angle.
HTA Design describes why a modular approach was chosen in the redevelopment explaining, “The buildings were designed from the outset to be constructed with the Vision Modular System, a volumetric solution that delivers advantages in speed of construction, efficiency of the building fabric and the quality of the finished homes.”
Photography © Richard Gooding, HTA Design, and Vision Modular Systems