A factory in Brooklyn is churning out extremely precise, 450- to 950-square-foot apartments that will click and seal together to form the largest modular high-rise building in the world. At 32 stories of stacked modular apartments, developer Forest City Ratner’s “B2” building will surpass in height the 24-story student dorm erected in Wolverhampton, England, in 2009, then hailed as the tallest modular building of its kind.
Inside Building 293, a massive, cadet blue shipping container of a warehouse, teams of 10 to 15 union workers are prefabricating one floor at a time. When completed, a finished module will include a kitchen stocked with new appliances and a full bathroom. In fact, the only unfinished elements after the “mods” are trucked two miles over to Dean Street will be the plumbing connections, which plumbers can simply snap together from a kit packed inside the walls. Everything else, including hallways, stairs, and five phases of modular construction from the inside out to the façade, will be done at the factory.
B2 will be built in 18 months, or two-thirds the time it would take for conventional construction. Stacking the mods onsite, like one might build a Lego tower, will happen on a speedy rolling basis: As metal chassis come into the factory, finished mods go out by truck, and are lowered behind the Barclays Center onto the new structure by crane. The group has also pledged that its prefab process will save money and reduce the construction waste that occurs when building from the ground up by 70% to 90%.
China’s Broad Group had a 30 story building assembled in 15 days from factory produced parts. The factory produced parts took about 2 months to fabricate and the foundation and site preparation also took several weeks.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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