citizenM Hotel by Sheppard Robson
Project - citizenM Hotel, Tower of London Sector
Sector - Leisure Technology
Technology - Volumetric Modular
Company - Sheppard Robson with concrete
Winner of 2017 Ahead Europe Best Urban Hotel - Newbuild Award
The global flagship citizenM hotel provides 370 volumetric modular bedrooms over nine floors. The site posed significant technical and logistical challenges given its location to the north of the Tower of London (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), within a Conservation Area, next to listed buildings and the Roman London Wall. The building sits directly above the London Underground station of Tower Hill and takes support from some of the retained structural columns from the previous building that occupied the site. The lightweight nature of volumetric construction enabled a nine-storey building to replace the former six-storey development.
citizenM's signature bedroom design was used to create a standardised and highly efficient floor plan, with bedrooms laid out around a central courtyard.
Volumetric modular construction was a perfect match for both the hotel typology and the highly constricted central London site since it enabled the bedroom modules to be manufactured off-site, complete with windows, internal finishes, fixtures, fittings, and first-fix services, before being transported. Due to the unique proportions of the citizenM bedroom two bedrooms, connected by a central corridor, were combined into a single module. Volumetric construction also delivered a very high quality finish and facilitated off site acoustic testing, weather testing, defect identification and rectification, as well as reduced construction waste when compared with traditional methods. The contractor, Balfour Beatty, ensured that module lifting operations were carried out at night.
The elevations feature hand-set Portland stone (a town planning requirement given the architectural context), precast concrete panels with Portland stone facing, standardised GRC fins (which reduced the cladding weight by over 200 tons compared to precast concrete), horizontal anodised aluminium extrusions, DGU windows and anodised aluminium curtain walling. Support for the stone and GRC cladding was taken largely from the modules themselves.
The hotel has achieved an 'Excellent' BREEAM rating.