World's tallest modular residential building unveiled in UK

University of Wolverhampton in UK has unveiled Victoria Hall, a 25-story, mixed-use, modular apartment complex - hailed as the world's tallest.

Constructed by London-based Victoria Hall Ltd, the new high-rise modular apartment building, Victoria Hall, is the world’s tallest building built with off-site construction methods. The GBP37 million ($60.6 million) Victoria Hall consists of four buildings, three of which have just been completed, and is a substantial architectural solution to the overcrowding and tight building site.

The 25 story building now holds the record for overall height and number of stories in a building constructed principally off-site. Only the ground floor was site built, with the remaining 24 floors being assembled from 383 individual modules built several hundred miles away in Ireland.

Victoria Hall is a purpose built modern complex situated within a few minute’s walk of the University of Wolverhampton. The facility is constructed as a response to the growing demand for student housing in the UK. In order to fill the gap created by university-sponsored housing, private developers are embarking on construction of students' accommodation complexes.

Being one of the prominent private student housing developers, Victoria Hall Ltd has completed the new project. The firm promised to provide a landmark architectural statement in response to the University of Wolverhampton’s need to provide accommodations for its growing student population. As the need was urgent, they had to complete the project in a short span of time.

The multiple pressures of speed, quality and scale encouraged the firm to venture into alternative methods of project delivery, and thus Vision Modular Structures, a division of the Irish firm Fleming Group, entered the picture. The Flemming Group, an expert in modular projects, assisted in constructing both the modules and the site-built components. Fleming also provided general construction management services to the project.

The Irish factory started modular production in July 2008. Site piles were driven and capped and above these, a ground floor with long spans for street level uses and student common areas was built. The ground floor was built of poured-in-place concrete. The ground floor is designed to act as an architectural plinth as well as a structural transfer beam for the smaller span modular structures above.

Each module has its own structural steel frame designed to carry the load of modules above it. The modules also include concrete floors, drywall walls and ceilings, and a fire-rated envelope. All modules are pre-fitted with plumbing, fixtures, finishes, cabinets, and even furnishings before shipping. A rain-screen façade is applied over factory-installed waterproofing. Voila, three out of the four buildings were finished in 10 months time.

Victoria Hall's sky-high modular design is expected to serve as a model to companies that are searching for quick and easy energy-saving solutions.

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