Stow-Away Hotel in London by Doone Silver Kerr Re-purposes 26 shipping containers and Features a Striking Facade.

The Stow-Away Hotel is a 5 storey, modular, eco-friendly hospitality development built using 26 shipping containers to create 20 high quality, compact apartments.

Designed by London-based architectural practice, Doone Silver Kerr, the hotel, which is also referred to as an “Aparthotel”, is a response to the growing demand for more flexible living and working patterns in Central London. The development, which was completed in 2018, is a partnership between Network Rail and Stow Projects. The design unlocks the challenging technical constraints of the Lower Marsh site using 30ft shipping containers as the construction system thus enabling the entire structure to be relocated at the end of the lease. The ground floor features a reception and café, designed to complement the eclectic, independent and collaborative community of Lower Marsh while the upper floors cater to the self-contained rooms/apartments.

Project Description

Design studio Doone Silver Kerr (DSK) has designed a new ‘aparthotel’ for Stow Projects and Ciel Capital, located at 137-139 Lower Marsh, Waterloo and situated within the Lower Marsh Conservation Area. Responding to the demands for more flexible living trends in Central London, the project blends the design qualities of a boutique hotel with the privacy of an apartment to provide adaptable, high-quality urban accommodation where city dwellers can live, work, eat and sleep. With a focus on simplicity, robustness, and durability, the innovative 5-story modular development consists of 20 rooms/apartments, each formed from a recycled 30ft shipping container.

The refined interior shells of the containers are clad with self-finished surfaces such as stone and stained and natural plywood, optimizing high-performance materials to maximize internal dimensions, durability and longevity. The containers are designed to function as self-contained, independent structures – DSK undertook extensive research to ensure each room meets appropriate building regulations.

DSK has optimized the space, use, and function of each room with a simple, restrained configuration, detailed with high-quality, natural finishes such as timber and marble. The efficient use of space enables the provision of a kitchen – complete with a dishwasher, sink, microwave, portable hotplate, and a set of cutlery, crockery, and saucepans. The bed is designed to be multi-functional, with wall cushions to adapt for TV viewing.

DSK has also employed a muted color palette that subtly shifts from light to dark to evoke a greater sense of space, and to further ensure guest comfort by preventing a ‘tunnel effect’ sensation. A key element of the design was to embrace the surrounding urban environment, with the semi-enclosed back of the hotel enabling guests to view the wide skyline of London’s Southbank area, including landmarks such as the London Eye. However, given the proximity of the South Western Main Line immediately adjacent to the hotel’s rear, DSK’s design includes various measures to carefully mitigate against vibrations and sound. Specialized acoustic rubber pads of varying densities have been applied to each floor and the practice has specified doors that address both acoustic and security issues.

The hotel’s exterior employs a striking façade of projecting fins, applied as a sculptural, welded steel screen that assists both privacy and solar-shading. Providing the hotel with a distinctive identity, the faceted screen alters the appearance of the building when viewed from different angles, the deep orange interior facet of each fin referencing the weathering steel of shipping containers. The windows to each apartment comprise a simple, fixed high-performance laminated double-glazed unit, with a halftone frit to obscure the lower part of the window for privacy. At the ground floor level, a reception area and wine bar (Unwined) offer an exciting new destination for locals and visitors to Lower Marsh.