The word “prefabricated” often leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. It evokes shoddiness or disrepair. The memory of trailers set up for survivors of Hurricane Katrina, whose shoddy construction materials leached poison, is never far off. But prefabricated housing, if done right, has the potential to fix New York’s housing problem. The Bloomberg administration has pumped lots and lots of time and effort into initiatives to bring so-called replicable “micro-units” to the city. Now one architecture firm is close to finishing an apartment block made entirely out of prefabricated pieces in Upper Manhattan. And they’ve made a video proving it.
Gluck+ Architects videotaped the final months of the construction process new apartment building at 4857 Broadway in Upper Manhattan. As you can see, no actual “construction” takes place. Rather they’re just fitting the pre-made pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle. Relative to how quickly developers can usually put up a building the whole process moved at a breakneck speed. Fast Co. Design writer Sammy Medina explains that while there is still a ways to go from what we see in the video, prefabricating the constituent parts of the building elsewhere takes a lot of uncertainty out of onsite construction:
The modular construction forces the architects to make all design decisions ahead of time, meaning that the building blocks are shipped to the site with all their features and interior partitions preconfigured. This cuts down on on-site operations and the many mistakes that inevitably arise from them.
The building, consisting of 56 units, is expected to be completed in October.
(h/t: Fast Co.Design)
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 26, 2013