As work begins on — the groundbreaking ceremony has finally happened, at least — despotic Chinese air conditioner kingpin Zhang Yue’s absolutely bonkers Sky City Project, another vertical-minded residential prefab project of note is underway in the far northern reaches of the isle of Manhttan.

Sure, it’s not a 2,749-foot modular skyscraper built in less than 90 days. And it’s certainly not a dystopian nightmare 220-story self-contained city that reads like something out of a J.B. Ballard novel. But as New York City’s first-ever prefabricated residential building, this middle-income apartment mid-rise in the Inwood section with a most apropos name, The Stack, is still a pretty big deal.

Recently subject to a great piece by Sammy Medina at Co.Design, the 7-story Stack is due to start welcoming its first residents in October and as evidenced in a mesmerizing time-lapse video shot over a period of four weeks, the assembly phase of construction went quite smoothly (and quickly). When completed, the Stack will be home to a total of 28 rental units —six studios, six one-bedrooms, 14 two-bedrooms, and 2 three-bedrooms — spread out across 38,000-square-feet with retail space on the first floor. According to an early New York Times article on the project, 20 percent of the units will rent for below market rate.

The gratuitious stacking action you see in the video below depicts the $13 million structure’s 56 factory-built-in-Pennsylvania modules being stacked and secured — or “zipped" — Lego-style at the build site at 4857 Broadway between Academy and 204th. Streets. And it all happened with just an eight-person crew and a crane.

Reads the project description at Gluck+ architects:

THE STACK addresses the need for moderate-income housing in Manhattan.  It finds opportunity on a small, difficult urban site through the alternative method of offsite construction.  Offsite construction offers an accelerated schedule and shorter financing period, turning sites that might otherwise be considered risky and turning them into opportunities.  It is a pilot project for developing a quality and economically viable housing solution to strategically rebuilding and filling gaps in outmoded housing infrastructure in the city.

Although not necessary to its construction methodology, the design of this 7-storey residential building expresses its offsite modular construction.  Each individual unit is legible but also reads as part of a knit-together whole.  Inside, different combinations of units provide structural integrity, as well as a diverse selection in the kinds of layouts for tenants.

More over a Co.Design including some great quotes from project architect and prefab vet Peter Gluck of Gluck+ about prefab building in the city: “ This is all about urbanization, the moving back to the cities. Now the technology and the methods for doing it have evolved."

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