In April 2012, the Forum for Urban Design convened to discuss the tallest building in the world to be built with modular construction. Bruce Ratner and MaryAnne Gilmartin of Forest City Ratner and Christopher Sharples of SHoP Architects presented their ambitious 32 story prefab tower at Atlantic Yards.

Although modular construction has been experimented with for a century, few high-rises have been built using the technique. The latest, built outside of London, reaches twenty-five stories using precast concrete. The first tower of the Atlantic Yards project, B2, will reach seven stories higher, and will be the first with a steel structure.

Ms. Gilmartin and Mr. Sharples explained that B2 would act as “Architecture R&D” (Research & Development), the first of a dozen or so towers to experiment with modular construction. Devised during the deep recession and amidst vehement community opposition, the prefab towers at Atlantic Yards will accomplish two things: shortened construction time (an estimated six to eight months) and lower construction costs. And with a dozen towers in the works at Atlantic Yards, the process could only become more efficient as each tower is completed.

Mr. Ratner and Mr. Sharples are hopeful that prefab towers could very well become a fixture in major cities across the United States. But only after completing B2 will they know for sure.

Photos:


Bruce Ratner, Forest City Ratner


MaryAnne Gilmartin, Forest City Ratner


Christopher Sharples, SHoP Architects


Bruce Ratner, Forest City Ratner


Bob Sanna, MaryAnne Gilmartin, Bruce Ratner, Christopher Sharples


Bob Sanna, MaryAnne Gilmartin, Bruce Ratner, Christopher Sharples


Bob Sanna, Christopher Sharples