(The New York Times) A vacant lot on Broadway between Academy and 204th Streets in Inwood is littered with rubble and concrete pilings. But in a matter of weeks, this 50-foot-wide sand pit will be transformed into a seven-story apartment building, with finished bathrooms, maple cabinetry and 10 terraces. It is not a magic trick, but rather the result of modular, or prefabricated, construction.
A technique in which a building is manufactured piecemeal on a factory assembly line, trucked to the construction site and erected much the way Legos are, modular construction is gaining popularity across New York City. It is not new, but it has never gained much of a foothold here, in part because of its association with low-cost housing like mobile homes. That perception is changing; the city does not track modular data, but at least anecdotally, more developers and architects are embracing its ethos.