Modular Building Institute

Muhlenberg Dormitory

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Main Category:
Modular Building Design
NRB, Inc.
Allentown, PA
Building Use:
Dorm Rooms for College Students
Gross Size of Project:
9060 Square Feet
Days to complete:

Award Criteria

  1. Architectural Excellence
    This three-story dormitory addition is attached to a building that was constructed in 1910 and the college wanted to emulate the circa 1900 exterior facade on the modular addition, blending it with the existing building and campus surroundings. The brick was selected from current day product and is a perfect match. Like the original building, the roof is grey slate tile and the building features a large copper cupola, gutters, downspouts and fascias. Of the 12 new dorm rooms being added, 9 are ADA accessible and the modular addition now houses the only elevator, bringing the existing dormitory under renovation next to it up to current ADA compliance. Despite the old world exterior, the college wanted bright, modern rooms for the students with quality features and finishes. Each dorm consists of a bedroom, bathroom and sitting area. All trim, base molding, chair rails and doors were made of oak. The bathrooms are an older style look with black and white patterned ceramic and laminate.
  2. Technical Innovation & Sustainability
    The non-combustible steel and concrete building was built using 20 modules plus one prefabricated tower section. Due to transport height restrictions, four prefabricated roof sections made out of structural steel tube were shipped to the site with the insulation, sheathing and ice and water shield already in place. The unique tower section and copper cupola were installed at the site along with the grey slate roof tiles. The new dorm has some built in energy conservation features that include LED or T-5 lighting on timers or occupancy sensors. HVAC is through P-Tac units and dorm rooms are thermostatically controlled by the resident for individual occupant comfort, but can also be controlled remotely during holidays or semester breaks when the rooms are unoccupied.
  3. Cost Effectiveness
    The new addition was installed on site within the same time frame as the existing building renovation was completed, so the College was able to meet higher student enrollment requirements faster without the additional cost of off-site housing. Designing the building in 20 smaller modules allowed them to be installed within the tight, restricted area of the surrounding campus, and without having to remove and replace any of the large, beautiful existing trees, so the new addition appears as if it has always been there.
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