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Four years ago WED Enterprises, the engineering and master planning division of Walt Disney Productions, was seeking a new and unconventional method for constructing five luxury hotels at the new Walt Disney World complex. WED and architect Welton Becket & Associates developed specifications for a modular hotel room. Selected industrial firms were invited to develop a modular hotel room construction system. U.S. Steel responded by forming a task force with people from USS Realty Development, American Bridge Division, U.S. Steel Homes Division, Construction Marketing and Applied Research Laboratory. The USS task force established several objectives. Among them:
  • Weight of the room unit had to be kept to a practical minimum for ease of handling and transportation.
  • Construction materials had to facilitate the assembly line process and make for easy handling by shop craftsmen.
  • Modules had to be economical.
U.S. Steel developed a room unit design of a three dimensional steel frame using a maximum of "dry" materials in the finishing process on the shop assembly line. A prototype model was developed to analyze architectural and structural detail and test for structural integrity, handling and transporting, sound transmission, and vibration. Underwriters, Laboratories helped test for fire endurance and performance under smoke conditions. Finally, USS and Disney decided to use this unitized hotel room technique to construct the Contemporary and Polynesian Village Theme Hotels. The Realty Development Division of U.S. Steel was selected general contractor. […]