Prefab is Having a Moment; Can it Sustain the Momentum?

With a modular high-rise planned for Brooklyn, a modular design winning Manhattan's micro-unit apartment competition, and several other prefabricated buildings on the drawing board throughout the U.S., prefab is getting a relook.
May 26, 2013, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"It’s an exciting time for modular building, especially in New York, and as someone who has been deeply immersed in the world of prefabrication for over a decade, I am glad to see the much-maligned building technology finding its proper niche," says Allison Arieff. "It’s the killer app for the modular industry."

"Though prefabrication has a long history of capturing the public imagination dating at least as far back as Sears, Roebuck & Co., which sold nearly 100,000 houses by mail between 1908 and 1940, it has run up against numerous obstacles, from financing to factory standards to social stigma," she explains.

"It’s a natural evolution for architects to seriously (once again) contemplate the use of prefab in multifamily applications. Thus far, other building sectors — commercial, institutional — have been, frankly, more innovative, more willing to embrace new tools like parametric software, which is used to create 3-D models that help orient buildings for optimal energy efficiency. Residential is playing catch-up on this and it’s about time."

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Published on Thursday, May 23, 2013 in The New York Times
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