TG Escapes Blog

The 5 Biggest Modular Buildings in the World

by Mark Brown | Jun 11, 2018 | Blog, Commercial

As modular building technology expands and becomes more popular, so too does the scope with which modular buildings can be built. Due to their rapid construction times, minimal impact on their surroundings and sustainability, in recent years modular buildings have gone a long way from being used as extensions and small-scale office blocks or apartments.

Today some of the world’s largest buildings are being, and indeed have been built, using the modular construction method and their achievement is a testament to the scalability, adaptability and durability of modular buildings. In this post we’ll be looking at the top 5 biggest modular buildings in the world, how they were constructed and why they have been so successful.

B2, Brooklyn, USA

Image Fieldcondition

Designed by the American company SHoP, this tower block was built entirely from pre-fabricated apartments to create a staggering, triangular-shaped building in Brooklyn, New York. The idea behind the tower came from a commercial and residential development project called Pacific Park who wanted to provide modern and cost-effective accommodation for local residences. B2 would act as an ‘experiment’ in this regard to see if modular buildings could make big cities more affordable and sustainable.

Consisting of 32-storeys at 359 feet tall, the construction began construction in 2012 with the aim of being completed 18 months short of the average construction time for conventional tower blocks. However, due to conflicts between the designers and developers, the target was not met and took longer (and cost more) than expected with the building finally being completed in 2016. Yet, despite the setbacks, half the tower’s apartments were priced below the market rate to achieve affordability and B2 quickly became a blueprint for tackling complex modular building designs in big cities.

George Road, Croydon, UK

Image VisionModular

Currently under construction, these two tower blocks in Croydon, London, are set two of the world’s tallest modular buildings. The residential scheme has been designed by HTA Design and built by Tide Construction and will stand at 443 feet tall with 44-storeys in the tallest tower. Part of a rejuvenation scheme in Croydon, the George Road towers are being built on the former site of a British Rail office block and are aimed at providing affordable housing for local residents.

Due to the modular nature of their construction, the two Croydon towers have been exempted from the usual environmental impact assessment conducted on most constructions. By having the vast majority of its components constructed offsite, the construction has minimised wastage and the disturbance caused by conventional buildings, not only lowering its environmental impact but also the disruption to the surrounding area.

Apex House, Wembley, UK

Image HTA

Apex House is a vast tower block which was also constructed by Tide, serving as contemporary student accommodation for the local universities in London. Whilst the towers at George Road, Croydon, are under construction, Apex House currently holds the record for being the tallest modular building in Europe. Standing at 272 feet and comprising of 29-storeys, Apex House is made up of 580 units for student living and was constructed from 679 offsite modules.

Due to the high demand for student accommodation in London and the prices it can fetch, the developers of Apex House wanted a building which was quick to build, had minimal wastage and was far more sustainable than traditional tower blocks. The modular process conducted by Tide ticked all these boxes and the student tower box was completed in 2017, only a year after construction began, proving modular buildings are both a quick and reliable alternative to the conventional building process.

Victoria Hall, Wolverhampton, UK

Image UniLodgers

Another construction aimed at providing student accommodation, Victoria Hall in Wolverhampton was constructed in 2009 and was one of the first large scale modular buildings of its kind in the United Kingdom. Designed by O’Donnell East Architects, the tower was, for a time, the world’s tallest modular building with 24-storeys and standing at 251 feet.

The tower itself is made up of over 700 bedrooms and studios which were all constructed using 805 pre-fabricated modules which were brought to the site and put together in approximately 27 weeks. This modular process meant that the tower block was finished a year earlier than it would have been if it had been built using conventional methods and its design has influenced many other large scale modular buildings since.

Mini Sky City, Changsha, China

The tallest modular building in the world, Mini Sky City in the Hunan province of China is also certainly the most ambitious modular project to date. Built by BSB (Broad Sustainable Building), the tower block was meant to prove the efficiency and rapid nature of the modular construction process with an aim of construction a 57-storey building (at 682 feet!), in less than a month.

Whilst most of the buildings main components were built off site over four and a half months, and grand total of 2,736 modules, the actual assemblage of the modules only took BSB 19 days to complete! This staggering feet of engineering and construction not only proved that a modular building could literally reach new heights in scale but also it could be constructed at a pace that far exceeds the traditional building process. Consisting of 19 atriums, 800 apartments and office space for over 4,000 people, BSB have stated that Mini Sky City is only the beginning of their ambitions to create rapidly constructed, large scale modular buildings.

In the coming years the company will begin construction on another modular sky scraper called Sky City One which will have 200-storeys and is said to be completed in as little as 90 days. Political problems have halted BSB’s progress so far, but when and if completed, Sky City One won’t only be the world’s tallest modular building, but will stand amongst the tallest buildings in the world.

Whilst TG Escapes does not produce anything quite on the scale of some of the buildings we have looked at in this article, the same concepts, applications and benefits of our modular buildings still apply. Like the buildings in this article, we construct our bespoke modules off site, reducing the environmental impact and disruption of the building process, and allowing us to construct our buildings quickly and efficiently.

If you want to find out more about modular buildings and what they can be used for, why not take a look at our case studies page or get in touch at:

0800 917 7726

About the author

Mark Brown
Consultant at TG Escapes - Mark has spent time growing up with the army, studying computing before the internet existed, and founding The London Classic Theatre Company, self sustaining for over 25 years. He trained in marketing with Unilever before moving into advertising as a strategist with Leo Burnett, Creative Director at Starcom and founder of award winning creative agency Weapon7. He has a passion for eco buildings and helps run the social enterprise Street Wisdom, providing free creative walkshops around the world.

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