Chapman Taylor designs prototype modular residential format for California’s Multifamily/Build-to-Rent sector

Chapman Taylor is collaborating with a global off-site manufacturer and US investment company to develop a modular residential prototype for a major investor in the Californian residential market.

Designed with the Build-to-Rent/Multifamily sector in mind, Chapman Taylor’s flexible and easily-adapted prototype is deliverable at scale and speed while achieving considerable cost and waste savings when compared with traditional build models. It presents a high-quality and affordable solution for helping to counter California’s housing crisis, which requires as many as 3.5 million new homes to be built by 2025 to keep pace with demand.

The scale of the Californian housing challenge

The modules are fully designed and furnished before being delivered to site, and their lightweight yet robust steel frames present a viable alternative to timber, which is becoming scarce in availability. Modular construction also has significant environmental sustainability benefits, decreasing energy use and material waste during construction while allowing quick and easy adaptation for evolving needs over the building’s lifetime.

Each module contains two fully finished apartments and a section of corridor, with the open-plan apartments available in a varying mix of studio, 1, 2 and 3-bed formats, depending on the requirements of each local market. Each will include well-connected home office capability for the increasing numbers of people who work remotely. The designs are also capable of accommodating a wide range of smart building technologies, including smart energy, communication, parking, security and lighting solutions along with high-performance façades, water recycling and green roofs.

Each module contains two fully finished apartments and a section of corridor

The residential prototype includes spaces for a diverse range of amenities and activities, including swimming pools, gyms, games rooms, co-working spaces, club rooms, coffee areas and barbecues, as well as car and bicycle parking spaces. There is a clear delineation between front-of-house and back-of-house functions to provide the appropriate environment for resident liaison and management of the facilities.

Chapman Taylor Director Michael Swiszczowski comments: "Chapman Taylor continuously investigates new technologies and new markets and we are delighted to be expanding our reach to the American Multifamily sector. The widespread embrace of digital collaboration due to the COVID-19 pandemic has helped to forge new partnerships and new ideas across the world, facilitating the quick and seamless development of this prototype for Multifamily living.

"We believe that the Multifamily/Build-to-Rent format offers an important opportunity for tackling the housing crisis in parts of the USA, the UK and elsewhere, as well as helping to provide the basis for a strong sense of community in towns and cities."

Michael Swiszczowski (BA(Hons), MArch, ADPPA, ARB, RIBA)

Director, UK

Michael joined Chapman Taylor in 2016 to strengthen the practice’s residential expertise. He joined the UK Board in 2022 and continues to take an active role in developing the practice’s residential and hospitality sectors across the UK business.

He has experience working on award-winning residential projects, with a particular focus on Build-to-Rent, student accommodation, hotels, serviced apartments and modular construction.

Michael is a regular speaker at residential and property conferences where he articulates Chapman Taylor’s design approach and skill-sets. He is also an RIBA-elected member of the Regional Council for RIBA North West.

Areas of expertise:

Residential / Build-to-Rent / Student Accommodation / Hotels

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