NEW YORK – Arup, a multidisciplinary engineering and consulting firm with a reputation for delivering innovative and sustainable designs, announced today that its client Forest City Ratner Companies has started construction for a 32-story, 340,000 SF modular residential tower on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street. The groundbreaking ceremony held Tuesday, December 18 th included executives and the project team from Forest City Ratner Companies, project partners, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. The building known as B2 will be the tallest modular building of its type in the world, and is the first residential building at the 22 acre Atlantic Yards site.

"B2 is really a remarkable building. Designed by SHoP Architects and with Arup as the engineers, this will be the tallest building in the world using modular technology, and I must tell you that it will also be beautiful," said Bruce Ratner, Chairman and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies. "You do not have to compromise on design when you build modular, and this building will prove that. This type of construction is very exciting, but what is most important, and what I care most about, is that it’s affordable – that is the most important thing."

Arup provided structural engineering, mechanical engineering, building services, acoustic consulting, fire and life consulting, and advanced building information modeling (BIM) services for this high-rise modular housing tower. The project started off as a research study to determine how modular construction techniques could be optimized for a high-rise application in New York City. The local construction market drove the team to find innovative engineering solutions that would maximize the extent to which the modules could be completed in the factory. By creating these units off-site in a controlled environment, the manufacturer can ensure construction safety, efficiency and speed. Every unit will be a fully-equipped apartment to be stacked and bolted together at the construction site. Through an intense collaborative process, the team developed a design process and modular system that can be built at a savings to conventional construction and shave 10 months off of the 28-month construction schedule.

Thomas Hanrahan, dean of Pratt’s Institute’s architecture school in Brooklyn said, "Modular promises higher quality, greener construction, faster delivery time and lower costs."

Through the use of BIM, all participants were able to collaborate in a way that addressed design issues as they arose, allowing decisions to be made instantaneously and enabling tight construction sequencing. BIM 3D and 4D increased the ability for all project partners to be on the same page in real time.

"Arup’s multidisciplinary approach and 4D BIM capabilities have supported innovative engineering that incorporates construction-process-driven design to bring incredible value to this project in a difficult market," said David Farnsworth, principal with Arup.

Forest City and Skanska have set up a joint venture FC + Skanska Modular LLC to assemble the modules, which will be fully fitted-out in the factory, complete with interior finishes, MEP and facade systems. They will be delivered to the site on a flat-bed truck where they will be stacked and connected. Construction completion is expected in 2014.

The full team includes:

Owner: Forest City Ratner Companies
Architect: SHoP Architects
Contractor: Skanska USA Building
Modular Manufacturer: FC + Skanska Modular
BIM Integrator: SHoP Construction
Structural Engineer: Arup
Mechanical Engineer: Arup
Acoustical Engineer: Arup
MEP Engineer: Arup
Fire/Life Safety Consultant: Arup
Geotechnical Engineer Langan
LEED Consultant YR&G