Continuing Education Unit: Modular Construction

Architectural Record

Katharine Logan

For generations, prefabricated housing has had a bad rap. Visions of ticky-tacky buildings in identical rows with no connection to context pushed modular construction to the fringe. But with global population increasing, the middle class rapidly expanding, and household size shrinking, some 2 billion new homes will be needed by the end of the century. That far outstrips what current construction methods can supply.

At the same time, because nobody wants climate-related population attrition to solve the housing problem for us, greenhouse gas emissions from building construction and operation (currently 40 percent of global emissions) will have to be slashed. And considering that only 7 percent of the world’s population can afford to own a home under current financing structures, something’s got to give.

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