Behold the future? The Forest City Ratner towers that will, in theory, finally start rising over the Atlantic Yards next year are in fact going to be modular. Also kind of hideous, as you can see in the above renderings. Bruce Ratner and co. unveiled the new design this morning, proudly proclaiming that the so-called B2 tower will, at 32-stories, be the "world's tallest prefabricated streel structure." Almost makes you miss Miss Brooklyn.
According to Ratner, once the SHoP-designed building gets going (there are some serious union fights to get through first) 60 percent of the tower will be assembled in a factory while the site is excavated. After that the building's 930 modules, already "outfitted with electric and plumbing lines, kitchens and bathrooms," will be lifted into place by a crane and bolted together on the outside. The 350-unit building will be about half affordable and half market rate rentals. The breakdown will be roughly "175 of each, divided between 130 studios (37%), 180 one-bedrooms (51%), and 40 two-bedrooms (12%)."
Of course, for the building to get built Ratner first has to deal with some tough union issues. Like the fact that the new building will use far fewer workers than Ratner originally promised, and for less money. By having so much of the construction done in a factory rather than on site the company is purposely trying to pinch pennies since they don't have to pay as much for off-site labor ("A carpenter, for instance, earns $85 an hour in wages and benefits at a construction site, compared with $35 in a factory setting.").
If only the buildings didn't look so fugly. It isn't like modular construction can't look interesting!