Image Credit The Modules
Philadelphia architects Interface Studio are known to TreeHugger for their work with PostGreen and on the 100K house. They have also just completed a modular student residence at Temple University that really does demonstrate the virtues of modular construction.
There are 72 two and three bedroom units in the building, in an H form that provides natural light throughout. There is an interesting move where one bedroom of the units along the corridor is actually in another module, next to it's living room. This will defeat a great advantage of modular, that the double wall provides great soundproofing. But beyond that minor caveat, there are huge pluses.
Modules in factory. Image Credit The Modules
Preston at Jetson Green corresponded with Brian Phillips, principal and LEED AP at Interface Studio Architects, and got some feedback on the benefits of modular:
Preston: Do you think prefabrication offered any advantages throughout the construction process?
Phillips: At this scale there appear to be clear advantages on cost of construction and speed of deployment. This 80,000 square-foot, 5-story building was built from excavation to finish work in 9 months. The ability to fabricate elements of the building outside of Philadelphia County allows for a more competitive labor rate. Also, if time is money - the speed of modular is a savings.
More interview at Jetson Green.
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Why Are American Houses So Big?