10 Nature-Forward Hotels That Take Advantage of Prefab Construction

10 Nature-Forward Hotels That Take Advantage of Prefab Construction

By Lucy Wang
Getting up close and personal with nature is easier than ever thanks to low-impact prefab construction.

From the roof of an Austrian midcentury hotel to the remote sands of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, prefabrication has made it possible to insert comfortable and luxe getaways in hard-to-reach places with minimal environmental impact. We’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite hotels around the world that have taken advantage of prefab construction to offer unique opportunities to commune with nature and wake up to breathtaking views.

1. Freycinet Lodge in Tasmania

Positioned for optimal views, minimal impact, and privacy, the bespoke suites offer a luxurious and immersive experience in nature. 

Perched atop pink granite cliffs, Freycinet Lodge’s Coastal Pavilions are a series of one-bedroom suites that offer unparalleled views in one of Tasmania’s oldest National Parks. Designed by Liminal Studio and prefabricated off-site to minimize site impact, the nine structures feature curved profiles to reflect the coast’s fluid topography and are clad in locally sourced natural materials to blend in with the surroundings. 

2. Cabanes des Grands Cépages in France

The floating suites were prefabricated in a workshop in the Pyrenees to reduce production costs and minimize site impact. 

In a remote fishing reserve in Avignon, France, Paris-based Atelier LAVIT has installed ten prefabricated cabins that float on a tranquil lake. Designed to mimic the surrounding water reeds, the timber cabins of Cabanes des Grands Cépages are clad in vertical wooden screens to camouflage into the environment and to capture a rustic, back-to-nature atmosphere. 

3. LoftCube in Austria

Dubbed the "highest suite in town," the 473-square-foot LoftCube features a bright and airy interior with midcentury-inspired decor as well as phenomenal views of the city framed by floor-to-height windows. 

Not all hotels taking advantage of prefab construction are found in remote nature. Berlin-based architect Werner Aisslinger’s LoftCube is a stylish penthouse addition that was constructed off-site and then craned into place atop the roof of Hotel Daniel in Graz, Austria.  

4. iT House in California

Available to rent on Airbnb, the two-bedroom prefab house as a prototype for their pre-engineered IT House series and made an appearance in Dwell Magazine’s November 2008 issue.

Designed by Taalman Koch Architects, the iT House is a stunning high-design escape that uses prefab structural components to reduce disturbance on the pristine and remote desert near Joshua Tree National Park. The solar-powered, industrial-inspired home incorporates passive solar design principles to operate entirely off the grid.  

5. Shipwreck Lodge in Namibia

The salt-and-moisture-resistant timber structures were prefabricated in Windhoek and then transported to the site for final assembly.  

The remote and notoriously harsh desert of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast is now home to Shipwreck Lodge, a low-impact boutique hotel that relies heavily on prefabrication to minimize environmental impact and ensure easy removal after the lodge’s limited 25-year concession period. Designed by Windhoek-based Nina Maritz Architects, the 20-bed property comprises solar-powered structures designed to evoke broken pieces of ships in a nod to the shipwrecked vessels that have washed up along the treacherous coastline. 

6. Revier Mountain Lodge in Switzerland

Ninety-six individual modules were constructed offsite and fully finished before they were assembled on site like stacked LEGO blocks. 

In the heart of the Swiss Alps, Carlos Martinez Architekten crafted the angular Revier Mountain Lodge to feel like a "VW bus parked at the edge of a lake." To achieve his vision and provide floor-to-ceiling views of the lake from every room, the architects turned to prefabrication for efficiency, speed, and uniformity.

7. Vipp Shelter in Sweden

The luxe prefabricated hotel offers an almost off-grid experience and is fitted with a curated collection of Vipp products.  

Sleek, stylish, and immersed in nature, the Vipp Shelter is a plug-and-play prefab cabin set on the edge of a forest lake in southern Sweden. The first in the Danish design company Vipp’s series of one-room hotels, the 592-square-foot cabin was crafted as a "livable design object" set in pristine nature. 

8. Lodges on Vashon Island in Washington

Designed to attract young, tech-savvy city dwellers, the Lodges on Vashon uses virtual registration and check-in and is fitted with handcrafted objects by local island-based artisans.  

Built in a factory in Idaho and then ferried to Washington’s Vashon Island, the 16 prefabricated units that make up the Lodges on Vashon are just a 20-minute ferry ride away from Seattle. Architecture firm ASW designed the 570-square-foot luxury suites with a modern Scandinavian feel that can be felt from the muted color palette to the use of midcentury modern furnishings. 

9. Sacromonte Landscape Hotel in Uruguay

In addition to the use of prefab construction for minimal site impact, the modular steel-framed cabins are also fitted with low-E glass, green roofs, and are connected to an eco-friendly wastewater treatment system.  

Montevideo-based MAPA Architects worked their modular magic on the modern Sacromonte Landscape Hotel, an eco-retreat in Eastern Uruguay that uses one-way mirrored facades to all but disappear into the landscape. Made up of 13 prefabricated camouflaged cabins in addition to a winery and a farm-to-table restaurant, the resort in the Maldonado mountains not only embraces the landscape through views, but also respects the environment with sustainable design.

10. Het bos roept! cabin in the Netherlands

Constructed from locally sourced poplar plywood, the lightweight cabin was designed to be mobile and can be moved around the campsite depending on the season.

To create a place for city dwellers to recharge and reconnect with nature, Amsterdam-based studio The Way We Build designed a tiny prefab cabin at Het bos roept!, an eco campground in northern Holland. Filled with light and chapel-inspired poplar arches, the 162-square-foot cabin is an enchanting escape that sits lightly on the land and was constructed off-site in just a matter of weeks.  

Related Reading:

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