Modular Building Institute

MBI and BD+C Modular Advantage | Summer 2011

The Modules Among the Largest LEED Modular Projects in U.S. 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Modular construction projects are often cited for their efficient use of resources, short construction times and energy-efficient design. While many multiunit projects never get past the planning stages, one multi-unit housing project near the campus of Philadelphia’s Temple University stands out as a breakthrough in hybrid modular construction, witnessed by an 11-month turnaround from concept to completion.

The Modules at TempleTown is a multiunit project that combines student housing with hybrid modular construction, contemporary design, green sensibilities and the designation of what might be the largest modular-constructed LEED for Homes project in the United States.

The five-story apartment project includes 60,000 square feet of living space with a ground floor parking garage, a bike garage, and a maintenance station topped with four stories of apartments and a roof deck. A double-H footprint provides each apartment with ample access to views and light. Inside, there are 72 apartments in two- and three-bedroom configurations priced at rental rates that are in line with surrounding student housing.

The project’s storm water management system includes a rain garden, a green roof, and pervious pavers that reduce storm water runoff by 50%. On the exterior of the building is a fiber cement rain screen facade system that protects the building from the elements.

According to Brian Phillips, principal and LEED AP at Interface Studio Architects, the client was very strategic about using modular construction for time and cost savings. “At this scale there appear to be clear advantages on cost of construction and speed of deployment. This 80,000 square-foot, 5-story building was built from excavation to finish work in 9 months. The ability to fabricate elements of the building outside Philadelphia County allows for a more competitive labor rate. Also, if time is money – the speed of modular is a savings.”

He also said, “There were ambitious aspirations of changing the game in student housing,” he adds. “That not only included looking at a modular system, but also constructing something that was highly environmentally sustainable.”

Phillips adds, “It’s architecturally distinct, but it doesn’t stick out, and it houses a lot of students without imposing on the neighborhood. There’s a very youthful exuberance about it, and the construction type and the greenness are really selling points. “It’s a landmark project and was great for all involved.”

The building/design team included: development by Carlisle Street Partners, LLC, with Equinox Management & Construction, LLC as the general contractor, Innovative Design & Building Services working with Excel Homes as the modular manufacturer and design by Interface Studio Architects, the same firm responsible for the noted 100K house.

For more information on The Modules project, click here.

© Modular Building Institute. Photos courtesy Excel Homes and ISA, Sam Oberter Photography. All media copyright of their respective owners and no portion of this story may be reconstituted or printed without owner permission.


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