News and Events

Modular high-rise breaks ground in Brooklyn

Rebecca Maloney Rebecca Maloney Americas Press Office ,Boston
21 December 2012

Construction began today on a 32-floor, 340,000ft2 modular residential tower in Brooklyn.

The groundbreaking ceremony, held on Tuesday, December 18, included Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, representatives from the Forest City Ratner Companies, and project team members.

The building, known as B2, will be the tallest modular building of its type in the world, and is the first residential building at the 22-acre Atlantic Yards site.

Arup provided structural engineering, mechanical engineering, public health engineering, acoustic consulting, fire/life safety consulting, and advanced building information modeling (BIM) services for this high-rise modular housing tower.

"B2 is really a remarkable building. Designed by SHoP Architects and with Arup as the engineers, this will be the tallest building in the world using modular technology, and I must tell you that it will also be beautiful. You do not have to compromise on design when you build modular, and this building will prove that. This type of construction is very exciting, but what is most important, and what I care most about, is that it's affordable – that is the most important thing." Bruce Ratner, Chairman and CEO, Forest City Ratner Companies

The project started off as a research study to determine how modular construction techniques could be optimized for a high-rise application in New York City. The local construction market drove the team to find innovative engineering solutions that would maximize the extent to which the modules could be completed in the factory. By creating these units off-site in a controlled environment, the manufacturer can ensure construction safety, efficiency, and speed. Every unit will be a fully-equipped apartment to be stacked and bolted together at the construction site. Through an intense collaborative process, the team developed a design process and modular system that can be built at a savings to conventional construction and shave 10 months off of the 28-month construction schedule.

"Modular promises higher quality, greener construction, faster delivery time, and lower costs." Thomas Hanrahan, dean of Pratt Institute's architecture school

Through the use of BIM, all participants were able to collaborate in a way that addressed design issues as they arose, allowing decisions to be made instantaneously and enabling tight construction sequencing. BIM 3D and 4D increased the ability for all project partners to be on the same page in real time.

"Arup's multidisciplinary approach and 4D BIM capabilities have supported innovative engineering that incorporates construction-process-driven design to bring incredible value to this project in a difficult market." David Farnsworth, Arup principal

Forest City and Skanska have set up a joint venture, FC + Skanska Modular LLC, to assemble the modules, which will be fully fitted out in the factory, complete with interior finishes and MEP and facade systems. They will be delivered on a flat-bed truck to the site, where they will be stacked and connected.

Construction completion is expected in 2014.