Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
NYC YPC Continues Future of Construction Series with
“Moving Parts: Modular Architecture in a Flat World”

January 19, 2017
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NEW YORK CITY– On January 19, the CTBUH New York Chapter, in association with the CTBUH New York Young Professionals Committee (YPC), and Akdo Tile Showroom hosted the second part in the Future of Construction lecture series, titled “Moving Parts: Modular Architecture in a Flat World.” The panel discussion included highly-esteemed guest speakers who have developed experience with pre-fabricated architecture in the field. They included David Wallance, AIA LEED AP, Senior Associate at FXFOWLE; Jason Stone, PE, Senior Associate at LERA; and Jamy Bacchus, PE BEMP LEED AP, Project Manager – Energy Analyst at ME Engineers.
Attendees network before the discussion. The event was held at the Akdo Tile Showroom.
The lecture series explores innovations in the construction industry, thanks to featured sponsor Autodesk, and solicits local expertise to engage in important discussions for the future of the industry. Premised on the urgent need to transform the way we design and build, the presentations explored many existing facts of behavior in existing cities that could highly influence future trends. Some of these trends include the need to reduce costs, deal with growing/larger urban populations, and integrate safely and wholly in dense transit-based urban neighborhoods. The ramifications of current population shifts, along with access to global distribution systems, implores us as architects, engineers, and builders to utilize these trends in providing and anticipating them economically and ecologically.
An audience of nearly one hundred listen to the panel.
Despite advances in information technology, new materials and methods, and new project management techniques, the construction site remains essentially the same as it has been for thousands of years. The work is done in the heat and cold, under rain and snow. The building trades jealously guard their jurisdictions, and often owe more allegiance to the union than to the subcontractor. Building technology, building codes, and building designs are ever more complex.  As a result, there has not been an increase in construction productivity for over 60 years.  There is an urgent need to transform the way we design and build our cities, and modular construction may be a solution.
Jamy Bacchus, PE BEMP LEED AP, Project Manager; and Jason Stone, PE, Senior Associate at LERA. YPC Co-Chair Ilkay Can-Standard, Architect, KPF, moderates the discussion.
The legacy modular manufacturers strive to build the largest possible modules, believing that fewer trips down the highway, fewer crane picks, and fewer seams to zip up at the construction site is the economical way to go. As a result, these manufacturers have burdened themselves with high transportation costs and regulatory barriers.  They are unable to compete with conventional construction beyond about a 200-mile radius.  Even within that limited geographic range they rarely compete on cost savings – instead, they compete on time savings alone.  The combination of high overhead, high local labor rates, and limited market opportunity makes these companies vulnerable to the ups and downs of the business cycle.  Several manufacturers in the New York area have gone out of business in recent years.
Wallance and his team look at the problem of modular construction from the standpoint of transportation. The shipping container is a cheaply transported modular structure that is the basis of our modern global supply chain, moving seamlessly across oceans, rails, and highways. It can be re-engineered and re-purposed for optimal performance and interconnectivity as a building module.  The next generation of modular architecture will be geared to large-scale global production and distribution and will adopt advanced industrial methods of manufacturing.  Wallance calls this new module a “Volumetric Unit of Construction,” or VUC.
David Wallance, AIA LEED AP, Senior Associate at FXFOWLE, presents his appoach to modular construction.
Wallance believes that modular construction should be thought of as a “delivery system” for a multitude of buildings, rather than as a solution for the design of one building at a time.  He used the analogy of the iPhone as an operating system with millions of apps to illustrate the idea of the VUC as a system that will be the basis of a global collaboration among architects, engineers, and product manufacturers to create a robust range of pre-engineered, “plug-and-play” components that will allow for unlimited design variation.

CTBUH New York YPC would like to thank Akdo Tile for hosting the event, and FXFOWLE, LERA and ME Engineers for their engaging presentations, in particular to the speakers for sharing their technical knowledge about their work and ongoing endeavors. The YPC also wants to thank YPC Co-Chair Ilkay Can-Standard, Architect, KPF, for moderating the discussion with the speakers and engaging the audience’s questions.
Jamy Bacchus inputs on the discussion.
The event was organized by CTBUH New York Young Professionals Committee Co-Chairs Hardik Doshi, Structural Engineer, McNamara Salvia, and Ilkay Can-Standard, with YPC Steering Committee Members Michelle Roelefs, Senior Engineer, Arup; Larry Giannechini, Senior Engineer, Thornton Tomasetti; Elizabeth Geldres, Architect, Rafael Viñoly Architects; Jim Bushong, Associate, FXFOWLE; and Devon Telberg, Marketing Director, Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture.
Lan Pham AAI Architects
Volodymyr Gogol AAI Architects
Ruben Nieto Anda Construction Group
Andrew Wynnyk Wynnyk Andrew Wynnyk Architect
Jordan Woodson Arup
Michelle Roelofs Arup
Petr Novikov Asmbld
Alberto Marquez BuroHappold
jongmin kim Dow
Parisa Mansourian EnTech Engineering
Mina Mahdavi EnTech Engineering
Lisa Madden EwingCole
Charles Portelli
Sasa Jokic Formdwell
Roger Krulak Full Stack Modular
Zach Downey Full Stack Modular
Brian Sweeney Full Stack Modular
Adam Gerber Full Stack Modular
David Wallance FXFOWLE
Jim Bushong FXFOWLE
Jeremiah Fordham GF55 Partners
BO XU Goodteng
Lee Franck Guy Nordenson and Associates
Dany Chehade HOK
valerie resnick Hunter Roberts
Susan Wright IBI - Gruzen Samton Architects
Meriem Sakrouhi IBI - Gruzen Samton Architects
Devon Telberg Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture
Jose Arevalo JRM Construction
Dawood Rouben Kohn Pedersen Fox
Jerrod Kennard Kohn Pedersen Fox
Francis Nolan Kohn Pedersen Fox
Ilkay Can-Standard Kohn Pedersen Fox/ CTBUH NYC
Larry Giannechini Lend Lease
Mia Tsiamis LERA
Elizabeth Geldres LERA
Carrie Villani Leslie E. Robertson Associates
Baiping Dong Leslie E. Robertson Associates
Magen Mintz Leslie E. Robertson Associates
Adam Paiva Longman Lindsey
Amelia Edwards Mace North America Ltd
Hardik Doshi McNamara Savlia/ CTBUH NYC
Jamy Bacchus ME Engineers
Neil Meredith MG McGrath
Melissa Chase MS
Hiroyuki Futai Musashino University
Nagi Alamri ODA-NY
Anne Lewison Raphael Vinoly Architects
Brent Chancellor Schöck USA Inc
Phillip Bellis Severud Associates
Omar Serrano T.G. Nickel
James Rizzo Tate Access Floors
Jason Stone Thornton Tomasetti
Ihsancan Turan Vidaris
Edward Perez Vidaris
Peter Arbour Vidaris
Adrian Lowenstein Vidaris
Rok Lee Vidaris
Alex Barmas Vidaris
Erika Orellana Vidaris
Nathan Walker Vidaris
Antonio Luz Vidaris
Lisa Dupuy Vidaris
Mamata Malla Vidaris
Enrica Oliva Werner Sobek New York
Snezhka Chausheva Wexler Associates
Brian Ringley Woods Bagot
Luis Puna WSP-PB
Luca Senatore WSP-PB
Daniela Arango WSP-PB
Luis Puna WSP-PB
Tuan Nguyen Zyscovich Architects
Liv Stratman
Phil Bernstein
Jason Buchheit
Vincent Huang
Gary Lam
Vanessa Granados
John Curtis
Eva Brandt
Simon Shim
Volodymyr Teplov
James Cockinos
Silverio Patrizi