New York Embraces Pre-Fab Construction

Prefabricated Inwood Box Building. Image Credit: Peter Gluck & Partners.

Prefabricated Inwood Box Building. Image Credit: Peter Gluck & Partners.

The popularity of pre-fab construction is catching on in many places—and one of them is no less than what is probably one of the busiest and most populous cities in the world: New York City.

On Broadway Street, there currently is a vacant lot that is hardly recognizable and nothing more than a pile of rocks. In a matter of weeks though, it will be transformed into an apartment building—with seven stories, ten terraces, and fully furnished units, thanks to prefabricated construction methods. Called in the Inwood Project, the apartment costs $13 million and will consist of a combination of 28 apartments. And the best part, which will probably appeal most to New Yorkers, is its 28% lower rental rate than the average. The building will be called Broadway Stack, to pay its respect to its innovative form of architecture. The project will wrap up in 9 months—as opposed to the traditional 16 to 18 months of on-site construction. This also means lowered construction costs by as much as 10 to 20%.

Last year also saw the announcement of the construction of the first residential tower in Brooklyn. On top of that, New York also won the Micro Unit Apartment Building Design Contest, and fittingly chose modular design as its construction of choice.

The negative connotations New Yorkers have with prefab construction are quickly going away. It used to be equated with low-cost housing and mobile homes, but prefab is proving to be more than that. Perceptions are quickly changing, inasmuch as prefab has shown itself capable of coming up with fully functional and aesthetically pleasing designs.

That pre-fab construction is becoming popular in New York just shows how flexible pre-fab buildings are. Now that New York is following suit, it will not be a surprise if every other highly urbanized city focuses on modular construction as well.

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