Competition Boards: Thomas Paul Shorey

Thomas Paul Shorey received Honorable Mention for his Modular Container Hotel project in the 2010 AIA/MBI Design Competition: Miami Beach Hotel.

John Vierra's Tsunami "best of show"

John Vierra's Tsunami "best of show"

John Vierra's Tsunami "best of show"

John Vierra's Tsunami "best of show"

Modular Container Hotel


The site is located in Miami Beach Florida on Collins Ave. This site is a beach front property and offers views of the ocean on its western and eastern sides.


This modular container hotel is mainly composed of retired shipping containers. This module hotels dimensions are based entirely on the shipping containers dimensions (8' x 8.5' x 20'). The floor heights are 8.5', the structural steel is laid out on a 16' grid, and the cladding system was designed on an 8.5' x 8' module. This allows the structure, skin, and shipping containers to come together harmoniously. The site is located in Miami Beach Florida, and offers many opportunities for views of the ocean. In order to accommodate these views the structure is oriented 24 degrees to the property. This allows ample opportunities to take in the amazing view. Shipping containers are known to have a low R-value. The orientation of the building and the sun shading devices help to minimize the southern and western sun exposure on the hotel units themselves and other spaces composed of shipping containers. In order to celebrate the use of the shipping container in this module structure, there was intentionally no attempt to hide them. The containers are utilized as often as possible. The hotel units, the restaurants, the shops, and the stairwells are all constructed using the shipping containers as a building module.

Program Configuration:

The program is dived over six floors and a basement. The parking for the hotel is located below ground in the basement of the structure. The first floor is made up of the entry, lobby, front desk, and various shops. The second, fifth and sixth floors are strictly guest room floors. The guest rooms are oriented in order to take full advantage of the ocean views. The third floor offers the occupants a restaurant and bar. These public spaces are located on the second floor in order to offer better views while dinning or enjoying a drink. The fourth floor offers a mixture of guest rooms and public meeting spaces that also offer a view.


The vertical circulation is made up of elevators and stairs that are found at each end of the lobby. Since the program includes both public and private space the circulation offers at least two routes to both the public and private spaces in order maximize efficiency.

Structure and Skin:

The structure of the building is a combination of steel columns and shipping containers. The shipping containers are often stacked on one another to form the various spaces in the hotel. The stairs cases are composed of shipping containers stacked horizontally and the elevators are made up of shipping containers stacked vertically. The skin system is constructed of glass and aluminum framing. The shading devices are made of steel framing members and cover with perforated metal. In some areas the shipping containers themselves act as the skin of the structure. The glass systems at both the northeastern and southeastern sides are operable in order to take advantage of the cool winds during the fall and spring months.

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