Modular Building Institute

MBI and Pratt Institute School of Architecture to Host:
 NYC Modular Construction Summit

The reality of an expedited schedule and lower costs has made offsite construction a valued building solution for decades. With curiosity about this process at an all-time high as developers turn to the method with growing enthusiasm, the Modular Building Institute and Pratt Institute School of Architecture will co-host a Modular Construction Summit on May 16, 2013, in Brooklyn, N.Y., to separate modular myths from truth.

Do modular buildings last as long as stick built? Are they environmentally sustainable? Can they be as attractive as their traditionally built counterparts? While the answer to all of these questions is yes, the summit will provide an opportunity for people to find out exactly why – and get answers on many more issues.

The event will feature two morning sessions with panels of high-profile architects and builders. In the afternoon, attendees can tour the factory of Capsys Corporation, the modular builder for the My Micro NY project – a 10-story Manhattan apartment building slated for occupancy in 2015.

Tom Hanrahan, Dean of Pratt Institute School of Architecture, will moderate the first morning session, “Permanent Modular Construction for Multi-family Applications.” Confirmed speakers include James Garrison, sustainable design pioneer and Architect with Garrison Architects; Ian Peter Atkins, BIM Application Manager for architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; and Tom O’Hara, Director of Business Development at Capsys Corporation.

The second panel, moderated by Modular Building Institute Executive Director Tom Hardiman, will focus on “Modular Solutions for Disaster Relief; Respond, Recover, Rebuild.” The confirmed speakers are David Burney, Commissioner, NYC DCC; William Begley, Director, Modular Housing and Hotels, Sea Box Inc.; Douglas Cutler, Architect with Douglas Cutler Architects; and Norm Hall, Industry Manager for Factory Built Structures, Simpson Strong-Tie.

Open to the general public, the event will take place at Pratt Institute, Higgins Hall Auditorium at 61 St. James Place in Brooklyn, from 8:00 a.m. to noon, with the factory tour from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Registration is $25 before May 10, and $35 thereafter (includes lunch). For complimentary press registration, please contact Tracey Daniels. The summit is sponsored by Capsys Corporation, DeLuxe Building Systems, NRB Inc., NRG Equipment, StrucSoft Solutions and MSpace Holdings.


Tom Hanrahan, Dean of the School of Architecture at Pratt Institute.
Hanrahan is a practicing architect and founding partner of Hanrahan Meyers Architects, hMa, widely recognized in design by numerous national and international publications, the Museum of Modern Art, the AIA and the National Academy of Design. He is the author of a monograph on his work “Four States of Architecture,” and his projects include the Pratt Design Center and Light-Arc, a Platinum LEED-rated community center adjacent to Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.

James Garrison, Architect and Educator.
Garrison is an architect and educator whose work expands the boundaries of sustainability, demonstrating how modern architecture can address the ecological challenges of our era. Garrison believes that teaching and practice reinforce one another as research and innovation are shared between the two.

Garrison provides the general leadership of Garrison—Architects, including generation of design concepts, direction of design development, communication with clients, and the technical overview of building systems. He personally oversees the development of each project that is undertaken in the office.

Born in 1953 in western Pennsylvania, Garrison grew up surrounded by natural beauty and witnessed its destruction by surface coal mining and clear cut logging. This has engendered a profound appreciation for nature and the stewardship of our environment.

In 1971 he attended the Syracuse University School of Architecture, graduating with the Del Gaudio Award for design excellence. While there, he apprenticed with modernists Lewis Skoler and Kermit Lee and was mentored by Werner Seligmann. In 1978 Garrison moved to New York and joined Polshek and Partners where he handled the conception, design, and technical development of the firm's signature projects. His buildings received four Progressive Architecture Design Awards and two Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects.

In 1991, he founded James Garrison Architects to bring greater focus and personal attention to each project. The firm has focused on a wide range of activities from the competition-winning scheme for the Korean Embassy in Beijing to the award-winning urban playground of recycled plastics in the South Bronx. Garrison has focused on the integration of architectural form and sustainability with the goal of creating buildings that are energy neutral over the course of their useful life.

David Burney, Commissioner, New York City Department of Design and Construction. 
Commissioner Burney is a visiting assistant professor at the Pratt Institute’s Grad Center for Planning.  As the city’s primary capital construction project manager, DDC provides communities with new or renovated facilities such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, courthouses and senior centers. To successfully manage this portfolio, valued at over $6 billion, DDC partners with other city agencies, as well as emerging and world-renowned architects and consultants whose experience and creativity bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to the projects they build.

Tom O’Hara, Director of Business Development, Capsys Corporation. O’Hara is the Director of Business Development at Capsys Corporation. Capsys is a premier modular manufacturer specializing in non-combustible buildings. Their structural system is capable of constructing buildings up to 12 stories. Capsys’ modular units are an efficient and cost effective way to construct almost any kind of residence, including student housing, hotels, townhouses, apartment buildings, affordable housing, supportive housing and assisted living facilities. As part of the winning team for the adAPT NYC Competition that called for designing, constructing and operating the city’s first micro-unit apartment building, Capsys will be the manufacturer for 55 micro apartments for My Micro NY.

Ian Peter Atkins, Architect and Designer. 
Atkins has practiced as an architectural coordinator and digital designer for more than 18 years, developing innovative BIM techniques for architectural, engineering, construction and fabrication teams. He has developed innovative Building Information Modeling (BIM) techniques for core architectural, engineering and construction teams and defined workflow protocols for several award winning projects with leading AEC companies. As the Firmwide BIM Application Manager at KPF, Ian has applied digital design and documentation techniques with construction management procedures through various software and cross-trade communications. He has developed innovative methods for Integrated Project Deliveries through 3D modeling, Time planning (4D), Cost analysis (5D) and Facilities Management (6D) techniques, specializing in offsite construction.

Prior to KPF, Atkins served as Director of Architecture and Engineering at Kullman Buildings Corporation, a modular construction company where he was a leader and innovator in BIM. He oversaw the design and documentation deliverables on a diverse range of projects, including healthcare, multi-story/multi-unit residences, hospitality, schools, data centers and higher education buildings.

Atkins is an active member of the Modular Building Institute, the Lean Construction Institute, the National Institute of Building Sciences (United States) and a graduate of the Architectural Association in London, UK. He currently serves as a Vice President of the NYC Revit User Group.

William Begley, Director, Modular Housing and Hotels, Sea Box Inc.
Based at the Sea Box corporate offices in East Riverton, New Jersey, Begley oversees concept creation, design, growth and operations for the division worldwide. His recent project has been the concept development, design and creation of the Sea Box interim housing products line, which uses ISO steel shipping containers. These buildings are deployed as construction work camps and specialized shelter complexes around the world. 

During his time at Sea Box, Inc. the company has developed a cutting-edge housing disaster relief concept that addresses the need of the urban disaster relief solution. Under his direction, Sea Box was the winner of the “What If New York” design competition for an urban multi-story solution.  
Begley has been actively involved in the real estate development and hospitality business for 35 years and has held executive positions with Sheraton, Marriott International, Residence Inn by Marriott, Hawthorn Suites and Microtel Inns & Suites. He has consulted for numerous others in the areas of Hotel Operations, Hospitality Concept Development and Real Estate Development.

Douglas Cutler, AIA, Douglas Cutler Architects.
Cutler has become nationally recognized for elevating modular construction to an art, producing results which offer superior design and quality with considerable cost advantages over traditional construction methods.

Douglas Cutler Architects brings to modular housing the experience gained through years of working with commercial building systems in large-scale commercial and housing development. By thoroughly understanding and being able to apply the full capabilities of modular building systems, virtually unlimited design solutions are possible. Single-family homes as well as multi-family residences, hotels and motels can benefit from cost-saving, labor-saving, and time-saving modular construction.

Norm Hall, Industry Manager for Factory Built Structures, Simpson Strong-Tie.
Hall develops new products and trains specifiers, building officials and manufacturers for his company. His expertise in the modular industry began in the early 1980s with Duo-Fast and then Universal Forest Products until he joined Simpson in 1996. He is an instructor for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Codes and Standards for continuing education and teaches potential building officials at community colleges.

A resident of the shore, he has experienced first-hand the destruction and has interviewed hundreds of people on what happened and what needs to be done in order to reduce or prevent such destruction in the future.  These interviews also discussed how the shore will rebuild and what methods of construction would be best. Knowing the shore gives him an understanding of the current resource limitations and how modular housing can be the answer to this problem. Hall is also currently the chair for his local Planning/Land Use Board, which gives him an understanding of the new ordinances and elevations being considered at the shore.
He currently has developed a “Flood and Coastal Construction Seminar” that discusses ways to build against not only dynamic and hydrostatic pressure, but wind forces as well.  The seminar includes references to modular and site construction.

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Agenda for Thursday, May 16, 2013











Registration in lobby
Student projects on display
Sponsored table top displays 
Coffee, juice, pastries provide by Pratt Institute School of Architecture

About Pratt Institute  - Tom Hanrahan, Dean, Pratt School of Architecture
About Modular Building Institute  - Tom Hardiman, Executive Director

Permanent Modular Construction for
Multi-family Applications

James Garrison, Garrison Architects; Tom O’Hara, Capsys Corp.; Ian Peter Atkins, Kohn Pederson Fox Associates; moderated by Tom Hanrahan, Dean Pratt Institute
School of Architecture.

Refreshment Break
Sponsored by Pratt Institute

Modular Solutions for Disaster Relief: Respond, Recover, Rebuild
William Begley, Sea Box; David Burney, Commissioner NYC DDC; Douglas Cutler, AIA, Douglas Cutler Architects; Norm Hall, Simpson Strong-Tie; moderated by Tom Hardiman, MBI Executive Director.

Lunch in lobby

Buses depart for Capsys (must be registered and have conference badge to enter Brooklyn Navy Yard)

Capsys factory tour

Buses return to Pratt


Sponsored By:



Attendee Registration

Open to the general public, the event will take place at:

Pratt Institute
Higgins Hall Auditorium
61 St. James Place
Brooklyn, NY

Registration is $25 before May 10 (includes lunch)
$35 thereafter.
Pratt Students & Faculty - fee is waived when registering

For complimentary press registration, please contact Tracey Daniels.


Need to contact us?

Modular Building Institute
944 Glenwood Station Lane, Suite 204
Charlottesville, Virginia 22901 USA
434-296-3288 phone
434-296-3361 fax




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