How “Hybrid” Modular Buildings Address Ever-Changing Needs for Space

Rusty WilliamsIndustry Insights, Temporary Modular, Uncategorized0 Comments

crystal springs refurbished modular classroom

Modular buildings have sometimes been referred to as Hybrids.   Modular buildings have done a nice job particularly in recent years addressing quickly changing needs for space.  Investments in land and “brick n mortar” are under greater scrutiny today because rapidly-changing technology is driving the need for more flexible facilities. Planners are embracing a “hybrid” approach where construction projects start with the premise that facilities will need to change within 3 to 10 years.

Advances in modular building design and practice have empowered schools and companies to create cutting-edge space which meets near-term programming needs but is capable of being leased for a few years and then moved or returned.

Triumph has worked on many projects that illustrate the trend toward permanent quality buildings capable of relocation.

Needham Mitchell Elementary School

The town of Needham needed four classrooms with additional space for support and storage. Although the space could be described as “swing space” and was originally designed as having the capability of being relocated– the town still wanted the highest quality building, with every detail professionally designed, including large and abundant windows, high-end finishes, vibrant colors, and state of the art systems.  The architect properly specified the off-site built components to ensure they met the town’s requirements.  The project was completed on an accelerated schedule, and to the satisfaction of the owner.  To learn more, view case study.

The Steamship Authority Hybrid Building

The Steamship Authority – Woods Hole Ferry Temporary Terminal

The Steamship Authority needed a Ticket Office during a six-year reconstruction project at its Woods Hole facility, which provides ferry transportation between Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard for over 2 million passengers a year. They needed quick turn-around – less than six months – and they required a complex design to house terminal functions including a customer waiting room, ticket operations, concessions, public and private restrooms, a kitchenette, and operations spaces. The building features bamboo decking which was chosen for its aesthetics and sustainability.

 

Williams College – Perry Faculty Office

Williams College is another example of the evolution of swingspace into hybrid space. Swingspace facilities that are typically used for a short period of time during construction or after a fire, or other disruptive event. Hybrid space is relocatable, but must meet higher level design requirements that are typically associated with permanent construction. For example, the Perry Faculty Office required unique soundproofing and specialized lab areas. It also had to fit in with the architectural style of the historic New England campus.

Tufts University — Student Information Systems Center

When Tufts University required additional office space for their Student Information System (SIS), they considered an off-campus building. That option posed considerable logistical issues for the students and administrators, so they turned to Triumph for an on-campus hybrid building built using movable modular construction. The building, which has now been in use for several years, features ample day lighting, natural sun solar tubes, high efficiency HVAC systems and controls, advanced lighting features and the use of low or no VOC materials throughout. In addition to the flexibility to move or remove the building, Tufts also maintains flexibility by leasing the building rather than purchasing it.  View modular building case study.

Westfield State — Student Classroom Center

Westfield State College’s versatile modular building addition was constructed and installed in just 12 weeks. The foundations and building set was done over a summer while students were away. A thin brick system was used as a facade of the building to match the campus’ existing structures and is an example of a client desiring a permanent building on campus, but available to lease, not own.

modern modular building huddle spaceEMD Serono – Modern Modular Building

EMD Serono, a leading biopharmaceutical company, needed additional space for Research and Development project teams to collaborate, communicate and share knowledge in the pursuit of new therapies for patients with unmet medical needs around the world. They wanted these teams to be co-located at their corporate headquarters, but due to always-changing dynamics of the market, they wanted the option to expand, contract or remove the buildings. The modular offices feature workstations that are designed for optimal acoustics with sound absorbing materials. In addition, there are huddle and private interaction rooms, as well as a lunch/break room and café.

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Rusty is a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, CT. He's the co-founder of multiple tech companies and enjoys exploring the intersection of education, innovation, and built space. He hosts a podcast called Forming the Future which features conversations with thought leaders in campus planning, collaborative learning, ed tech and architecture.

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