New Green, Modular Student Housing in Philadelphia, Plus Slideshow

Philadelphia--By utilizing modular construction, Equinox was able to shorten the construction schedule and decrease costs. The modules were created in an efficient assembly-line process--off site.

Philadelphia–The face of student housing is changing, and The Modules at TempleTown near Temple University in Philadelphia serves as an example of what the future may hold, as students demand more accommodations that are state-of-the-art and green inside and out.

With a design by Interface Studio Architects in hand, developer Equinox Management and Construction L.L.C., broke ground on The Modules last year and opened the doors of the 72-unit, off-campus student housing property just six months later. The project marked ISA’s first foray into the modular construction arena. View a slideshow of the project.

“We approached it like we would any other multifamily project,” Brian Phillips, principal with ISA, tells MHN. “The fact that it’s more playful is probably appropriate because students live in a very visual world.”

The wood-frame modular element of the 80,000 square-foot structure involves the four floors of residential accommodations topping a single-story, steel and concrete parking structure. By utilizing modular construction, Equinox was able to shorten the construction schedule and decrease costs. The modules were created in an efficient assembly-line process–off site. “They were fabricated in Harrisburg and trucked in to the site in less than six weeks,” he says. “About 70 to 80 percent of the building was built outside of the city, so a lot of money was saved in time.”

The modular construction process–which also allows for less raw materials waste–is inherently green, but ISA took the building’s sustainability to a higher level with the incorporation of such architectural elements as generously sized operable windows, light-filled common spaces and a green roof terrace that assists in the facilitation a 50 percent-reduction water runoff.

The Modules is green to the core and green looks good. “The Modules is very much a product of its time,” Phillips notes. “Developers are trying to find that sweet spot between construction costs, rental costs and quality, but it doesn’t have to compromise the way a building looks and feels.” The apartment property, which accommodates 160 beds, has been awarded LEED Silver certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s pilot LEED for Homes Mid-rise program.