February 29, 2008 / 12:18 PM / 12 years ago

Prefab city chic: "the world's coolest trailer park"

LONDON (Reuters) - You see a vacant east London building lot paved over with asphalt and used as a car park. Tim Pryce sees the site of a rack-‘em, stack-‘em prefab temporary designer boutique hotel.

London's skyline is seen through the morning fog from Waterloo Bridge in London February 11, 2008. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty

An architect with years of experience designing temporary buildings for exhibitions, Pryce says prefab is the answer for a city like London, where quick development means a shortage of space, and shabby areas are suddenly chic.

His design is called the M-Hotel and it consists of a steel frame with trailer-style mobile homes fitted out with designer furnishings, stacked four high and slotted in with a crane.

“What’s unique about this is that after 8-10 years, when they want their land back, it can go away. It’s like the circus leaving town,” he told Reuters.

In a fast-changing city, where getting planning permission to put up permanent buildings can take years and today’s barren urban wasteland is tomorrow’s sleek office plaza, temporary buildings could ensure that empty lots aren’t wasted space.

He hopes to persuade local authorities to license his temporary hotel as a business, without requiring the same full-scale permission as building a permanent structure.

He has already picked a site and offered to pay the owner three times what he now earns running a car park.

“If you are trying to make your area smarter, a whole lot of destitute parking lots is not going to do it.”

The hotel rooms — designed for visiting bankers and executives to stay for up to three months — will have bedrooms, baths, kitchens and living rooms that can be turned into spare bedrooms. Just don’t call them trailers.

“It’s not a trailer. The only similarity is that you can move it. This has as much in common with a trailer as a moon rocket,” Pryce says.

But then, showing off a plan to place single-story temporary rooms along a disused railway viaduct nearby, he uses the “T” word himself.

“It’s like the world’s coolest trailer park.”

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