Kirsty Hammond explores some of unusual and prominent modular buildings

In the wake of the pandemic and as previously discussed we have to ask ourselves if Modular and Prefabricated buildings are our most progressive and sustainable solution? The population of Sweden certainly think so!

The uptake of Prefab buildings in Sweden beats the world hands down. Almost 84% of homes in Sweden are prefab, in contrast to our meagre 5%.

A prefab or modular home is built offsite in a factory and then shipped in pieces to site.

Prefab homes are-not only affordable but have numerous benefits for the environment and health impact for construction workers.

Costings are more successful with prefab building as it is easier to calculate and gauge materials as the same formula is followed for each model. Prefab builds therefore result in far less waste than traditional building. There is also less damage to all components and all components are more durable.

Modular buildings are sustainable and can have minimal impact on their surroundings.

Kirsty Hammond Kirtsy Hammond Editor of Specifier Review

A sustainable solution

Since all the building takes place indoors weather delays are omitted, social distancing can be adhered to and it is estimated that most projects are finished in just 60 days!

Prefab housing is designed by computer and made in modules. It can be assembled in days and occasionally hours.

As our knowledge and technology increases so does the scope with which modular buildings can be constructed. They are sustainable and can have minimal impact on their surroundings.

Some of the world’s largest and most unusual buildings have been built using prefab and modular construction. Here are a few of the most interesting and certainly not what you would expect from a prefab!

The Cliff House, Bavaria

Designed by architect Daniel Wagner:

Nature meets design: The exposed hillside location and the floating architecture with no visible supports make this modern design house something quite special.

The property: 30 metres above the village. It required utmost professionalism to have the future home cling to the steep rocky slope.

Thanks to a special crane, the prefabricated components were transported over existing buildings across the site.

The use of simple shapes and materials now provides an exemplary link between modern residential architecture and nature.

Cantilever House, Granite Falls, Washington

Designed by architect Anderson Anderson

The hill tops at the Granite Falls in Washington just outside Seattle is the location for one of the most complex prefab homes.

The house though nestled amongst spectacular scenic beauty, lacks the supply of electricity, water or road connectivity.

The frame work of this well constructed house is made of steel. The surroundings of this unique house has been custom made by some fine artists who were the friends of the owner of this prefabricated house. 

Prefab modular houses can follow a template and are often quite similar to each other, however this unique piece of construction is both unusual and striking.

Mini Sky City, Bejing

On the outskirts of Changsha in southern China stands a huge tower, its size is modest by Chinese standards.

The tallest modular building in the world, Mini Sky City in the Hunan province of China is also certainly the most ambitious modular project to date.

Built by BSB (Broad Sustainable Building), the tower block was meant to prove the efficiency and rapid nature of the modular construction process, with the aim of being able to construct a 57-storey building in less than a month.

Apex House, London

Designed by architect Tide:

Apex House is a vast tower block that was constructed by Tide, it was developed to serve as contemporary student accommodation for the local universities in London.

Apex House currently holds the record for being the tallest modular building in Europe. Standing at 272 feet and comprising of 29-storeys, it is made up of 580 units for student living and was constructed from 679 offsite modules.

Due to the high demand for student accommodation in London and the prices it can fetch, the developers of Apex House wanted a building that was quick to build, had minimal wastage and was far more sustainable than traditional tower blocks.

The modular process conducted by Tide met all these requirements and the student tower box was completed in 2017, only a year after construction began, proving modular buildings are both a quick and reliable alternative to the conventional building process.

Kirsty Hammond is publisher and editor of Specifier Review