Now Trending in New York City: Modular Housing

In 2014 The Stack became the first multifamily modular building to be built in New York City. The Harman Group served as structural engineer for the 38,000-square foot, seven-story, 28-unit apartment building which was completed in just 10 months.

This abbreviated timeline was made possible by modular construction, a method that has since made a case for itself in the New York City market. Modular buildings, also known as prefabricated buildings, are buildings that are comprised of sections, also known as “modules.” These modules are often made in factories, and once transported to the construction site, are set onto the building’s foundation and joined together to make a single building.

Modular construction has proven to be successful in New York and many other markets for a variety of reasons, including shorter construction timelines, versatility, and lesser disturbances overall.

Construction Timeline

Construction of modular buildings can occur simultaneously with site work, which allows projects to be completed in less time. Modules for the 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units at The Stack were constructed off-site at Deluxe Building Systems in Berwick, Pennsylvania before being transported to the northern tip of Manhattan. Because most construction is completed inside a factory, there was also elimination of weather delays which can often hinder the construction timeline tremendously. The offsite construction allowed for the 56 modules to be erected in just 19 days, with utilities and finishes already in place.


While modular buildings aren’t constructed on site, they are constructed with the same materials and to the same building codes and architectural specifications as traditional construction. Modular units may be designed to fit in with external aesthetics of any existing building and modular units, making them virtually indistinguishable from their site-built counterparts.

Less Disturbances

With construction sites come road closures and detours, which can create a huge headache for pedestrians and commuters. However, by using modular construction, on-site traffic is greatly minimized from workers and equipment. Additionally, because the modular structure is created in a factory-controlled setting using dry materials, the potential for high levels of moisture being trapped in the new construction is minimized.

View videos of the modules being constructed and stacked here:

By Janis Vacca