• Factory-built modules will form both the structure and the individual units at this prefab multifamily building designed by Peter Gluck and Partners.

    Credit: Courtesy Peter Gluck and Partners

    Factory-built modules will form both the structure and the individual units at this prefab multifamily building designed by Peter Gluck and Partners.
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    Credit: Courtesy Peter Gluck and Partners

Peter Gluck and Partners has been stick-building its own projects for years. So when the New York–based architecture firm decided to design and co-develop a modular, multifamily apartment building in uptown Manhattan, it already had a sense of how prefabrication could potentially streamline the process. “We understand all the inefficiencies of the stick-built model—all these issues with coordination and scheduling, physical access, weather,” says partner Thomas Gluck. “For us, the appeal of modular is primarily in the time frame, and also the quality—it’s easier to control.”

The 28-unit, seven-story project, slated for groundbreaking in May, will express its modularity through its design. A grid of colored panels and windows makes up the façade. Some of the modules cantilever out from the front elevation, a strategy that lends texture and emphasizes the building’s boxy nature.

Each unit will be constructed in a modular factory in Pennsylvania, then shipped directly to the site in the city’s Inwood neighborhood. (During the time it takes to make the units, the foundation will be site-built.) Once the modules are placed, it will take six to eight weeks to connect wiring and plumbing across the units. “The structure is the modules,” Gluck explains. “It’s not a superstructure.”