Radical Innovation Competition Announces Three Finalists for 2019 Awards

What does it take to be a finalist in the 2019 Radical Innovation competition? How about a 21st-century train with wilderness stops along its route through the American West, the world’s tallest modular hotel, and collapsible modular construction units that are adaptable to a variety of environments?

Those three concepts—Infinite Explorer by San Francisco-based SB Architects, the Volumetric High-Rise Modular Hotel by New York-based Danny Forster & Architecture, and Connectic by New York-based Cooper Carry—were recently announced as the three finalists in the 13th-annual Radical Innovation competition. The award challenges professional designers and hoteliers, along with students in a separate competition, to create compelling innovations in travel and hospitality design.  

A rendering of an Infinite Explorer train cabin and a wellness-focused hospitality stop. Courtesy of SB Architects.

Infinite Explorer is intended to help travelers connect with remote destinations in the American West utilizing defunct passenger rail lines via one-of-a-kind hospitality experience: a train with cabins designed to open at a variety of stops with newly created outdoor infrastructure, allowing passengers to step from their cabin to enjoy the region’s incredible natural scenery along with adventure and wellness activities and dining.

A rendering of the modular AC hotel, under construction in New York City and slated to open in 2020. Image courtesy of Danny Forster & Architecture.

The second finalist is already in the works: AC by Marriott (to be located at Sixth Avenue between 29th St. and 30th St. in Manhattan) will be the tallest modular hotel in the world when it opens in late 2020. Constructed using the Volumetric High-Rise Modular Hotel model by Danny Forster & Architecture, the $65 million build mixes the efficiency of modular design processes with inventive architectural design. A full 80 percent of the AC hotel’s square footage will be shipped from a factory in Poland—pre-constructed and already decorated with curtains, TV, and wall art. 

Read more: Danny Forster & Architecture to Build the World's Tallest Modular Hotel in NYC

A rendering of Connectic, a collection of flexible, adaptable modules created by Cooper Carry. Image courtesy of Cooper Carry. 

Connectic by Cooper Carry is the year’s third innovator—a collective of modules that a flexible, adaptable, and reusable. Uses could include a pop-up hotel in a remote area, a temporary event space, and interstitial spaces between buildings or in forgotten pocket parks.

The trio of professional finalists was chosen from among nearly 50 entries from more than 20 countries by a jury of hospitality and design experts. They will compete in a live pitch presentation at the New Museum in New York City this fall, where the audience will vote to determine the grand-prize winner of $10,000; the runner-up will receive $5,000.

The winning student design, Rooftop Hotel Gardens, is by Ruslan Mannapov and Airat Zaididullan. Image courtesy of Radical Innovation.

In addition, the jury selected a student submission winner: Rooftop Hotel Gardens by Ruslan Mannapov and Airat Zaididullin from Kazan State University of Architecture and Engineering (KSUAE) in Russia. They will receive $1,500 and be invited to join the professional finalists at the New Museum event this fall.

Since its founding, Radical Innovation has awarded more than $150,000 to progressive architectural/hospitality innovators.

Keep scrolling for additional images of the three professional finalists >

A rendering of another proposed recreation stop on the Infinite Explorer by SB Architects. Image courtesy of SB Architects.
The 26-story, 168-room AC hotel in New York will be composed of modular pods designed by Danny Forster & Architecture. Image courtesy of Danny Forester & Architecture.
The adaptable and reusable Connectic modules by Cooper Carry can be temporary rooftop additions to hotels. Image courtesy of Cooper Carry.

Read more: Autonomous Vehicles Steal the Show at the 2018 Radical Innovation Awards

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