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Industry Insight | August 12th, 2016

Modular/prefab is now mainstream but it is certainly not new. [Part 3]

Modular construction is gaining popularity around the world! While it is now the construction method preferred by many for its improved efficiencies over site building, it is certainly not a new construction method. It has been around for centuries. This blog is part (3) of the series; blog (1) referenced documented examples of prefab/modular construction pre-1900; blog (2) referenced the popularity of the kit homes in the early 1900’s

Modular construction enjoyed a surge in popularity in the 1950’s and 1960’s in the United States, expanding from home building applications to commercial applications (schools, businesses and hospitals) (1).

(Pictured above at left the famous Tick Tock Diner in New Jersey, built by Kullman Building Corporation in 1948, photo from TripAdvisor.com; at right prefabricated panel being installed 1962 in an apartment building in Europe, photo from postwarbuildingmaterials.be).

Famous architects sang the praises of modular construction, most notably, Frank Lloyd Wright. Throughout his career, Frank Lloyd Wright was interested of mass production of affordable housing. By 1956, he had designed 3 styles of prefabs that he believed would retail for about $15,000 (about ½ the price of other existing prefabs at the time) (2).

In Canada, Habitat 67 was built for Expo 67. Habitat 67 was praised as being revolutionary in its time. 354 modules make up the structure of 148 residences. Today, the largest condo in the Habitat 67 complex is for sale for $1.8 million and condo fees of over $4,500 per month (3).

(Pictured above at left Habitat 67 under construction and Habitat 67 today. Photos from habitat67.com and msafdie.com).

Modular construction is a better way to build, but it is certainly not new. Follow the conversation #ABetterWaytoBuild.

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