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Sleeping in Seattle

This LEED Gold citizenM hotel in Seattle features a modular design in a seismic zone.
Paula Melton
August 24, 2021

Project: citizenM South Lake Union Hotel

Client: citizenM Hotels

Executive Architect: Gensler Seattle

Architect/Interior Designer: concrete Amsterdam

Construction: Mortenson

citizenM hotel Seattle exterior
Photo: Richard Powers
At first glance, the citizenM South Lake Union Hotel in Seattle is a cheerfully colored building lit up with contemporary artwork. Inside are 264 tiny but sleek guest rooms. What you can’t see is how the hotel was put together from 228 modules.

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This wasn’t a simple matter. Seattle is in a high-seismic zone, where modular steel components can’t typically be used. That’s because the units have to be stiff in order to endure shipping, and the seismic code requires a flexible structure. The designers hit on a creative solution: each module was shipped with temporary bracing, which was removed onsite so the structure could meet the seismic code.

According to the team, using modular construction shortened construction time by four months and greatly reduced local construction impacts because there was less equipment idling.

citizenM Hotel Seattle interior guest room
Photo: Richard Powers

Date updated: 
Tuesday, August 24, 2021

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