WSP USA says it has assisted a global hotel developer with its latest development in Washington, D.C., constructed with an international modular process that resulted in “guest rooms with quiet comfort and comprehensive technology functions.”
In a story originally published in WSP Insights on Oct. 27, the engineering firm reports that CitizenM opened a nine-story hotel in DC’s NoMa neighbourhood in August.
“The work to navigate citizenM’s design standards and modular construction specifications became a rewarding endeavor for the WSP teams thanks to collaboration both on-site and globally,” WSP says.
“It was an exciting project to be a part of,” said project manager Jennifer Mitarotonda. “It had a very involved and sophisticated owner, as well as a very collaborative design team. The whole team really worked well together to try and execute the vision for the client.”
WSP provided mechanical-electrical-plumbing (MEP) engineering, building technology systems, acoustics, and building enclosure consulting for the project.
MEP, technology and acoustics teams were contracted by architect Gensler, while the enclosures team was contracted by general contractor Gilbane.
In addition to Mitarotonda, WSP design team also included Jon Gillespie, lead plumbing engineer; Patrick Green, lead mechanical engineer; Garrett McWilliams, lead building technology systems consultant; Andrew Parise, senior lead acoustic consultant; and Paul Totten, building enclosures practice leader, WSP says.
“The new D.C. hotel was built using modular construction, an off-site building method in which the structure is built in separate sections, or modules, through an assembly line process. These modules, which were constructed at Polcom, a factory in Poland, are fully fitted at the factory and then transported to the project site, where they are then stacked together to assemble the building.
“This method allowed for a faster speed of construction, reduced building costs and resulted in a greener manufacturing process that generated less waste.”
Using modular construction instead of site-built construction also changed the flow of the process. All submittals and show drawings for the modules’ equipment required reviews and approvals before the modular construction process could begin, so weekly coordination meetings were held with the design team, general contractor, module fabrication team and owner to make sure everything was correct prior to fabrication.
Working with an international client on a U.S. project required the WSP teams to coordinate with multiple overseas contractors and make design modifications to follow D.C. jurisdictional codes and regulations, while adhering to citizenM’s sophisticated design standards, WSP says.
Additionally, since the fabrication of the modules took place under stringent COVID safety protocols, D.C. agreed to permit the use of video conferencing during construction of the building, since overseas travel was not an option under these conditions.
“When you’re looking at the hotel, it appears as if everything has been site built, when we know everything was built modularly,” Totten said.
The connected guest experience at citizenM hotels relies on their converged data network, which not only allows hotel guests to access room functions and the Internet but also enables building systems and guest services to be fully integrated and cloud-managed with a low on-site IT footprint.
Using citizenM standards, WSP helped create the construction plan that will allow for reliable data network connectivity in the hotel while adhering to D.C. code requirements.
Part of the challenge for WSP was fitting each module together with resilient connections so that there would be less sound transmission between the guest rooms. To facilitate that goal, WSP designed the hotel’s HVAC units for quiet comfort, and coordinated with Gensler to control street noise into the guestrooms.
“It’s great to work for clients who understand that it is a big deal to have good acoustics within the hotel,” Parise said.
WSP says the hotel developer also maintains high standards for sustainable building practices and fostering a sense of community with each new citizenM hotel.
The D.C. NoMa project is tracking for a Silver rating for LEED-BD+C v4, pending both the accreditation completion and the approval of the construction phase credits.
“It’s something that shows the breadth and depth of the WSP team,” Totten said.
Based on story originally published in WSP Insights, Oct. 27, 2022.