Tiny homes have been gaining momentum for some time now, thanks to shifting consumer tastes and no less than three different shows on HGTV that are aimed at reversing the bigger is better mentality. (Yes, Tiny House, Big Living; Tiny House Builders; and Tiny House Hunters all exist.) Now the microdesign trend is coming to commercial architecture.
First up: hospitals and hotels.
Called microhospitals and microhotels, these new iterations are smaller, more intimate, emphasize shared space over individual rooms, better integrate technology, and are more thoughtfully constructed to avoid less waste. This means design needs to be smartly executed to make use of available square footage. Storage space, furniture, and even rooms serve multiple purposes. And having the right construction materials is critical to making that possible.
Microdesign in hospitals
Microhospitals are becoming especially popular in markets where patients do not have easy access to emergency care. That can be in a busy urban area with long ER wait times or a small city that would not be able to support a full-scale facility. It is such a hot topic in hospital construction that Becker’s Hospital Review rated the “microhospital” as the number one design trend to expect in 2017.
It’s true that urgent care centers have been on the rise in recent years, but a microhospital is different. It is an always-available, full-service operation but typically maxes out at 50,000 square feet and are meant for short stays. They have a lower construction cost than a traditional hospital, ranging from $7 million to $30 million to build. And since they are smaller, they take less time to build, which allows the health system to bring healthcare services to communities quicker. These are attractive features to both builders and the cities the microhospitals will serve.
In addition to creative use of space, TFL is a popular surface choice in microhospitals due to its stain, germ, and abrasion resistance. It is also easy to maintain, which makes the environment healthier and safer.
Microdesign in hotels
When it comes to hotels, it is no surprise the trend first popped up in cities with expensive real estate like New York City and Tokyo. And recently, several hotel chains have emerged to capitalize on the trend, including Pod, Yotel, and CitizenM.
There are many reasons to embrace microhotels. They put much more emphasis on communal spaces, such as lobbies, lounges, and office centers. Design is critical to appeal to its main audience: Millennials. The idea is that this price-sensitive audience is more interested in “just having a place to sleep.” So, unlike the downsizing of airline seats, microhotels actually emphasize comfort and quality. It should look good, be environmentally-conscious, and have character.
These are some of the reasons TFL is showing up as a popular surface material in microhotels. TFL offers contemporary woodgrains and colors, with exact matches in other complementary materials. It is also a favorite “green” surface material with low-to-no emissions.
And while size is not, aesthetics are emphasized in microhotels. Microhotel designs provide creature comforts: multiple USB plugs, modular furniture, and adequate storage space. And with all that floor space trimmed away, they tend to charge less per night so who wouldn’t be happy with that?
Whether for an overnight hospital stay or a week away, expect to see more architects thinking small.
CitizenM image credit with edits: designmilk