Pink Cloud, a Danish architectural collective, wins the grand prize ($10K to blow in Las Vegas) in the annual Radical Innovation in Hospitality competition, which has the mission to " discover, identify, and explore radically innovative hospitality concepts: open, in development, and/or in conceptual form." It was founded by the John Hardy Group and Hospitality Design magazine, and sponsored by Global Allies.
Their proposal is a clever adaptive re-use of New York office buildings, converting them into pop-up hotels. They claim:
I will ignore the fact that t this just isn't true, that rents are rising, vacancy rates are "the tightest in the country" and companies are moving back from New Jersey, and concentrate on the concept.
Office vacancies are high, rents have been plummeting, and tenants are moving to New Jersey. A combination of outdated building stock, the economic recession, and a lack of amenities in the neighborhood have transformed Midtown from a vibrant business hub into an area of post-recession decline. The design of the Midtown Pop-Up Hotel focuses on the transformation of empty Class A office spaces into hospitality spaces.
The Pop-Up Hotel is designed to be a means of urban revitalization, an economic catalyst, as well as an active community partner. We strongly believe the Pop-Up Hotel to be a transformative experience for both the building and more importantly, the hotel guests.
The really clever thing that they have done is to palletize the design, picking as their module for construction a standard pallet, filled to the standard height to go through an elevator door.
Then all the components, from the walls to the furniture to the bathroom, are unfolded and put in place. Gizmag expands on it:
The Pop-Up Hotel consists of pick-and-choose, similar-sized modules for flexibility and bespoke layouts. Each module is designed to fit through an elevator door and has the footprint of a standard US shipping pallet, so 36 boxes fit neatly on a flatbed lorry. For easy identification, delivery and assembly, the modules are computer- and color-coded. When unfolded, the modules make partitions, beds, sofas, chairs, basins, toilets, showers, tubs and other items, as well as a range of rooms from deluxe suites to hostel bunk rooms.
Converting an office building lobby to a hotel lobby isn't much of a stretch;
Nor is a recreational area, restaurants, bars or special event areas.
The problem is going to come with the suite design and installation. Office buildings are usually pretty deep from core to windows, where hotels are not. There are also issues of plumbing, inappropriate ventilation systems, asbestos removal and reworking of sprinklers and fire safety. Gizmag writes:
The opening of the Pop Up Hotel would be marked by parties and other attention-grabbing events because, being a sort of flash hotel, it will only run for four weeks and then move on to a new office building, while the operators and owners split the profits.
It was a great green adaptive reuse story until I read that four week fantasy.
The palletized design is quite clever, and if there were a 21.6% vacancy rate and rents weren't close to $60 bucks per foot, it would be a great solution for residential conversions. That's where the real need is in New York.